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All Right* rts4frved 




Narrative of events resamed — Death of the King of France — ^The 
widow, and her position and conduct — ^The projects for hei 
disposal in marriage — ^Visitors to her — Her brother, afterwards 
Earl of Murray — Embassy from Huntly and the Romish party 
— Pertinacious dealing of Queen Elizabeth's ambassadors in 
France — Unsuccessful in their object of the ratification of the 
treaty — Queen Mary's return — Her companions — Her recep- 
tion — Her past and future position compared — A pageant — 
The religious difficulty — The question of tolerating idolatry — 
Calvin consulted — Methods of reviling the old creed and cere- 
monies — Interviews with John Knox — The First Book of Dis> 
cipline — Failure of the clergy to get it confirmed by Parlia- 
ment — Reasons for the lay members of the Congregation dis- 
liking it — Contains provisions for appropriating the temporali- 
ties of the Church — Would thus take them from the lay lords 
who had secured them — Instances of the method of getting at 
them — Roasting a commendator — Knox's wrath — The compro- 
mise — Murray's marriage and elevation — A clearing among the 
Border thieves, , . . . • i 46 






Dangers in the north — Position of Huntly as leader of the 
Romanist party — Murray's designs — A royal progress — 
Huntly's fears from it — He arms — Battle of Corridiie — Ruin 
of the house of Huntly — Queen Mar/s policy in assisting in 
the ruin of her friends — Position of Mary's Government — As- 
pect of firmness and moderation — Her home-life and amuse- 
ments — Her popularity — Further dialogues with Knox — Ques- 
tion as to what language they were held in — Prosecutions of 
Romanist priests — Archbishop Hamilton — The queen's de- 
votedness to her Church — Her foreign correspondence — Com- 
munication to the Council of Trent — Papal emissaries — Assas- 
sination of her uncle — Parliament — Tendency to a reaction 
against the Protestant party — Further altercations between the 
queen and Elnox — Riotous attack on officiating priests — ^The 
rioters brought to task — Feeling among the Protestant clergy, 4.7-ii 




The queen and her admirers — Mysterious story of the project of 
Arran and Both well— Both well indicted for it — History of 
Chatelar — His adventures — His fate— Political importance of 

the queen's marriage — The projects of the house of Guise 

Queen Mary's own views — Project for union with the heir of 
the Spanish monarchy — Political prospects of such a union — 
Mary's foreign correspondence about it — Her schemes tra- 
versed by Catherine of Medici — Other projects — Queen Eliza- 
beth — Her escapades about Leicester — Proposed meeting of 
Mary and Elizabeth — Mary meets Henry Stewart, Lord Dam- 
ley — Mary's secret emissaries — David Rizzio — Reaction in 
favour of the Romanist party— Gloom and difficulties of the 


Reformers — Protestant riot suppressed — Question of consult- 
ing the Estates about the marriage — Marriage of Mary and 
Damley, . . . . . .82121 



k strong Government — Damley gets the title of king — Parlia- 
mentary displeasure with the assumption — Arming of Murray 
and his supporters — ^Their dispersal— rPresent themselves to 
Elizabeth — How treated by her — Danger of Elizabeth and the 
Protestant cause — Projects of the Romanist powers — Confer- 
ence at Bayonne — Philip, Catherine of Medici, and Alva — 
Damley*s character develops itself — Odious among the cour- 
tiers — His wife's appreciation of him — Progress of Rizzio's in- 
fluence — Project for putting him out of the way — The band 
for his slaughter — Arrangements for effecting it — The supper- 
party— Rizzio dragged out and slain — Inquiry as to when the 
queen knew of his death — Her conduct before and after that 
knowledge — Lures back her husband — Return of Murray and 
his followers from England — Murray makes peace — Secret 
arrangement of the queen and her husband — Their escape to 
Dunbar, . . . . . • . 122-155 



The confederate lords and their danger — Projects of retaliation 
— The slayers of Rizzio seek refuge in England — A Parliament 
— The fit of conjugal attachment passes — Symptoms of Mary's 
feeling towards her husband — He is avoided, and becomes 
alarmed — Rise and character of Bothwell — His power on the 
Borders — Condition of the Borders at that time — His power 
on the sea — History of his house as renowned for royal love- 
afifairs — Wounded in a Border scuffle — The queen's ride from 
Jedburgh to Hermitage to visit him — Birth of the prince — 
Peculiar circumstances of his baptism — Projects against Dam- 
ley mooted — Damley's illness — The queen's new profession 


of reconciliation, and visit to him in Glasgow — His father 
and he afraid of murder — His own expressions on the matter 
— Damley brought to the Kirk-of-Field — A band for patting 
him out of the way — ^The preparations — The completion of the 
murder, ...... I56-I9a 



The morning after the murder— Doings at Holyrood — Feeling of 
the public — Disposal of the murdered man's body — Suspicions 
and accusations pointing to Bothwell — Whispers about the 
queen — Correspondence with Damle/s father, who demands 
a trial — How it was evaded — Bothwell advanced and favoured 
— The queen gets warnings — Sojourn at Seton — ^The supper at 
Annesly^s — ^The band for Bothwell's marriage with the queen 
— The interception and canying off of the queen to Dunbar — 
Her formal entry into Edinburgh — ^Bothwell's difficulties as a 
married man — Arrangements for their removal, and question 
if they were legally removed — How the Protestant party and 
their clergy take matters — ^The marriage of Mary and Bothwell- 
— The married couple — Her apology for her conduct, 193-332 




Symptoms of a rising — The queen and Bothwell take alarm and 
leave Holyrood — ^The queen in Borthwick — Escapes thence and 
joins her husband — ^They take refuge in Dunbar — Provisions 
for the safety of the infant prince — ^The confederate lords get 
possession of Edin^rgh — The armed conference at Carberry 
— The queen's surrender, and removal to Edinburgh — ^Difficul- 
ties in dealing with her there — She is taken to Lochleven — Dis- 
covery of a casket — Its contents said to be poems and love- 
letters addressed by Mary to Bothwell — How the confederates 
resolved to deal with this discovery — Examination of the let* ^ 
ters — ^Their narrative of the queen's visit to Damley at Glasffow 


compared with the other narrative of the same by Craufurd — 
Queen Mary abdicates— Conclusion of a historical epoch, 233-279 



Political conditions following on the abdication of Queen Mary 
— ^The claims of the Hamiltons — The coronation of the 
infant prince — The organisation of the regency — Murray re- 
called from France — His visit to his sister — Inaugurated as 
regent — ^Takes Edinburgh Castle out of Balfour's hands — A 
Parliament — Position of Scotland towards France and England 
— Queen Elizabeth's high demands — Throckmorton sent to 
assert them — How he fared in his mission — Conferences with 
Murray and Lethington — Accusations against the Hamiltons — 
Popular feeling about Queen Mary — Effect of Queen Eliza- 
beth's interference, ..... 280-318 



Confirmation of the Reformation statutes^General Assembly 
— Powers of discipline — Attempts to recover the temporalities 
— How they succeeded — Formation of judicatories — Modelled 
on the Huguenot arrangements — The clergy — Use of the 
English Liturgy — History of the " Book of Common Order," 
or Scots Prayer-Book — Adapted from the Geneva Liturgy used 
by Knox in Frankfuit— Scenes occurring there in connection 
with its use — Examination of the Book of Common Order in 
its relation to other Liturgies — Its use confirmed — Translated 
into Gaelic — Forms of burial and administration of the sacra- 
ment—The vocal praise — The spiritual and godly songs — ^The 
Psalter — Condition of the ecclesiastical edifices, . 319-355 



The regent's Government — Its strength— Its difficulties — ^The 
dealing with the murderers of the king — ^The Church and the 


holders of ecclesiastical estates — News of the escape of the 
queen — What is known of her captivity — Lochleven Castle 
and its inmates — Projects for escape — Final success — Flight 
to Hamilton — Gathering there — The regent at Glasgow — ^The 
battle of Langside — Flight to Dumfriesshire — To England — 
The perplexities of the situation — English and Continental 
politics-^ Residence of Mary at Carlisle — Her blandishments — 
Seeks a meeting with Elizabeth — Removal to Bolton, . 3S^'39A 




The effect on the Court of England — Fleming, Herries, and the 
French ambassador there — ^The question of Mary going to 
France — The question of a personal interview between the 
queens — ^The mission of Middlemore — How received by Queen 
Mary— How in Scotland— The Casket Letters — Feeling the 
way to the result if the charges proved — Queen Elizabeth's 
divine right of sovereigns, and repudiation of the power of sub- 
jects to question their acts — Conflict with Queen Mary's pre- 
tensions to the throne of England — ^The latent question of the 
superiority of the crown of England — Queen Mary's diplo- 
matics — Her profession of an inclination to the Church of 
England — Her absolute devotion to the old Church — The dis- 
cussions to be oondncted at York — ^The three commissions — 
The external political conditions of tiie inquiry, . 395 '4^> 




Opening of the faiquiry — ^The charge of rebellion against Mur- 
ray and his party — Their defence involving a counter-charge, 
but reserving tiie charge of murder — The removal of the inquiry 
to London — ^The endeavours to discover what the result would 
be were the charge made and proved — Private discusaons of 


the Casket Letters — Queen Mary's conferences with the Bishop 
of Ross on the safest course — Directs any charges against her 
to be denied — Lethington's machinations — The Duke of Nor- 
folk — His acquaintance with the charges, and his proffers to 
Queen Mary — The policy of such a marriage considered — The 
reservation of the public charge of murder — Made at last — ^The 
effect on the discussions — ^The Book of Articles — The produc- 
tion of the Casket Letters — Tendering of the testimony of 
Thomas Craufhrd as to the meeting in Glasgow — Perplexities 
of the Bishop of Ross — The inquiry gradually closes — Incom- 
pleteness of the apparent results — Real results behind them — 
The career of Bodiwell — His flight— Imprisonment in Norway 
and Denmark — His Danish wife — His offers to restore Orkney 
and Shetland — His death, .... 423-473 






How far the ecclesiastical Revolution, carried by a vote 
of the Estates on the 17th of August in the year 1560, 
was to be conclusive and permanent, seemed to be a ques- 
tion depending on the fate of a youth, fragile from his 



birth and now seriously diseased. Suspense ended when 
it became known that Francis II., King of France, the 
husband of the Queen of Scots, had died on the 5th of De- 
cember. He was in his seventeenth year, and had reigned 
a few days more than a year and a half. Had human aid 
availed for anything, he had such as the greatest monarchs 
cannot always command. He was attended on his death- 
bed by Ambrose Par^, not only the most skilful surgeon 
of his day, but one of the illustrious few who have left a 
legacy to the world in permanent devices for assuaging 
pain and saving life. All that his skill could do, however, 
in treating the dying king, was to announce with confi- 
dence that death was advancing with absolute certainty 
in the shape of a gangrenous ulcer making its way to the 
brain. It might be supposed that the protective presence of 
one so skilful would have saved the dark repute of the king's 
mother, Catherine of Medici, from an additional shade, 
and the deepest of all, in the charge that she had murdered 
her son as one who stood in the way of her ambition. While 
the Queen of France was the niece of the Guises — ^and a 
niece with so much in her own character to increase their 
resources — the " fiUe de marchand," as Mary scomftdly 
called her husband's mother, was almost nobody at Court. 
She had been, like a caged tigress, disabled from pursuing 
the instincts of her ferocious nature. Her son's death 
was the first and the most effective of the successive 
blows that finally levelled the power of her enemies, the 
Guises, to the dust. It made her virtually Queen of France ; 
and those who saw all this and knew her nature, spoke in 
the belief that no crime would be permitted to stand be- 
tween her and such a fortune. 

Outside the palace-gates the contest between the Hugue- 
not and the Guise party raged so fiercely, that even the 
death of the king, whom both professed to reverence and 
obey, passed over as a secondary incident, and he was 
buried out of sight with little of the pomp incident to the 
obsequies of a king of France.-^ 

* Cond4 who was saved by the event that broke the power of the 
Guises, was on his way from his prison to resume his military autho* 


There was one man who, though his place was in the 
centre of all the storm, stood apart in calm seclusion, 
watching its course, and calculating how the probable re- 
sults would work with the other combinations of European 
politics. This was the English ambassador, Throckmor- 
ton. In the mean time his chief occupation was gone — 
that of achieving the ratification of the treaty of Edin- 
btu-gh. It might be that the event opened up new pros- 
pects of success, but he could not in decency press his 
demands on the new-made widow. 

He had to content himself in the mean time with the 
study of her conduct and character in her hour of calamity 
and trial, and he sent his commentaries on what he no- 
ticed home for study by his mistress and his political col- 
leagues. In these revelations the spirit of the kindly 
English gentleman in some measure seems to overcome 
that of tibe diplomatist and spy. He spoke well of her ; 
and the very weight of the charges that afterwards loaded 
her fame renders it but fair that we should not pass over 
the words of commendation rendered to her by one who 
was present at so critical a time. On the day of the king's 
death, and in the intimation of the end to his mistress, 
he says, — " He departed to God, leaving as heavy and dol- 
orous a wife as of right she had good cause to be, who, 
by long watching with him during his sickness, and pain- 
ful diligence about him, and especially by the issue there- 
of, is not in best tune of her body, but without danger." * 

Twenty-five days later, having meanwhile been watching 
and ruminating, he is able to speak more specifically 
about her character, and its possible political influence. 

rity at Orleans, when *' II faillit croiser en chemin le corps dn feu 
roi, que deux chambellans et un eveque aveugle (Guillard, ^£que de 
Senlis) menaient k Saint-Denis ' petitement ' accompagn^ : les Guises, 
r^lns k ne pas quitter la place un seul jour, et k disputer opiniitr^- 
ment tout ce qu^ls pourraient conserver d'autorit^, abandonn^rent 
les restes de cdui qui ne pouvait plus rien pour leur fortune, malg^ 
les devoirs que la cnarge de grand-maitre imposait au Due Fraxicois, 
et le roi fiit enterr^ sans pompe k Saint-Denis, tandis que les Etats 
Gen^ux s*ouvraient bruyamment k Orleans en presence de son 
ieune snccesseur." — Martin, Hist, de France, ix. 62. 
^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 421. 


Her marriage is '' one of the special things'* that the Lords 
of the Council to whom he writes '' have to consider and 
have an eye to;" and then, " During her husband's life there 
was no great account made of her, for that being under 
bond of marriage and subjection of her husband (who 
carried the burden and care of all her matters) there was 
offered no great occasion to know what was in her. But 
since her husband's death she hath showed, and so con- 
tinueth, that she is both of great wisdom for her years, 
modesty, and also of great judgment in the wise handling 
of herself, and her matters, which, increasing with her 
years, cannot but turn greatly to her commendation, re- 
putation, honour, and great benefit of her and her coun- 
try. Already it appears that some such as made no great 
account of her, do now, seeing her wisdom, both honour 
and pity her. Immediately upon her husband's death 
she changed her lodging, withdrew herself from all com- 
pany, and became so sorrowful and exempt of all worldli- 
ness, that she doth not to this day see daylight, and so 
will continue out forty days. For the space of fifteen 
days after the death of her said husband, she permitted no 
man to come into her chamber, but the king, his brethren, 
the King of Navarre, the constable, and her uncles ; and 
about four or five days after that, was content to admit 
some bishops, and the ancient knights of the order, and 
none of the younger, save Martignes, who, having done 
her good service, and married the chief gentlewoman of 
the chamber, had so much favour showed him. The am- 
bassadors were also lastly admitted as they came, who 
have all been with her to condole, saving I, which I have 
forborne to do, knowing not the queen's pleasure in that 
behalf * After touching other matters he returns to his 
sketch of character in a tone suggestive of susceptibility 
to the powers of fascination that afterwards gained so many 
victories. " For my part I see her behaviour to be such, and 
her wisdom and kingly modesty so great, in that she think- 
eth herself not too wise, but is content to be ruled by good 
counsel and wise men — which is a great virtue in a prince 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 472. 


or princess, and which argueth a great judgment and wis- 
dom in her — that by their means she cannot do amiss." * 
While the widow is thus found dwelling apart in decent 
gloom, the diplomatic correspondence of the day becomes 
lively with suggestions and queries as to her disposal in 
marriage. Would she be wedded to her dead husband's 
brother and successor in the throne, Charles the Ninth, 
under a papal dispensation demanded by the eminent 
importance of such a union to the Church ? And here it 
may be noted as a practical consideration by the states- 
men of the period, however fanciful and fruitless any re- 
flections on the matter may appear at the present day, 
that it had been among possibilities that Queen Elizabeth 
might, under the like sanction, be married to her brother- 
in-law King Philip, and thus secure to Spain and England 
in union the preponderance over France in the champion- 
ship of the old religion. On the other hand, would King 
Philip claim the widow for his son, Don Carlos ? — an idea to 
be weighed along with the influence of King Philip's own 
recent marriage to Elizabeth of France. It was rumoured 
that the Guises might claim their niece for some member 
of their own family, as an item in the daring game they 
were playing for supremacy in France. The disposal, in- 
deed, of this young widow's hand, was a great European 
question, widened and disturbed by the consideration that 
in canonical doctrine she was entitled to supersede Eliza- 
beth on the throne of England. Frederick of Denmark 
and Eric of Sweden, each freshly enthroned, were named. 
There was also the son of the Emperor Frederick, called the 
Archduke Charles and occasionally the Duke of Austria. 
Nearer home the name of Arran, the heir to the honours 
of the house of Hamilton, came up ; but at the instigation 
rather of his own family and himself than of the diplo- 
matists. The folly of his nature, tinged with somewhat of in- 
sanity, seems to have been apparent to them, and we find 
them significantly leavingit to himself to promote his cause.' 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 473. 

' See a letter full of subtle doubts and difficulties, Randolph to 
Cecil, Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 4th March 1561. The matter 
dfopt with—" Well I my lord of Arran may conceive with himself that 


The house of Hamilton, it will be remembered, was the 
nearest, as descending from James II., in the hereditary 
right of succession to the house of Stewart. Of the success- 
ful suitor, Lennox's son. Lord Darnley, no account seems 
to have been taken by the busy diplomatists, though it is 
casually mentioned as a common report in Scotland, that 
he had gone to France to try his fortunes with the widow.^ 
While Queen Mary was still in France, Queen Elizabeth 
made preparation for taking a decided part in the question, 
by instructing Randolph, her representative in Edin- 
burgh, on the tone he was to take when the question came 
to be discussed there. He was to represent the danger to 
the Scots of a foreign king. Of those who had been most 
earnest in defence of the liberties of the Scots he would 
be the ruin, unless he adopted their cause ; and if he pro- 
fessed to do so he might turn and be an enemy. Any- 
thing restoring the ancient league with France would be 
fatal. They should look near home for a husband, and 
find one well addicted to the cause of religion, and of 
good amity with England.^ 

Throckmorton, as he ruminated on such questions, 
hoped that the second marriage would not be so prejudi- 
cial to the interests of his country as the first had been, 
and uttered as a general opinion, that the widow " more 
esteemeth the continuation of her honour, and to marry one 
that may uphold her to be great, than she passeth to please 
her fancy by taking one that is accompanied with such 
small benefit or alliance as thereby her estimation and 
fame is not increased."* Perhaps this was a fair estimate 
of her aspirations before they were dispersed by other in- 
fluences. When, as we shall see, the Earl of Bedford joined 
Throckmorton, instructions were given to both to "ex- 
plore the likelihood of the marriage of the Scottish queen ; 
wherein they shall employ their devices to procure it, to 
be either in her own country, or in such place as may least 
augment her strength."* 

there is possibility or likelihood that he may have her ; but it is 
against the opinion of all the doctors.'' 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), isth March 1561, T. Stew- 
art to Lady Lennox. 

« Ibid., 20th March 1561. " Ibid., 423. * Ibid., 508. 


In the public correspondence nearer home — that of the 
Scots Protestants with each other, and with their friends 
in England — there is a decorous tone of comfort and 
/elief in the dispersal of gloomy anticipations, and the 
brightening of hopes. The more the death of King 
Francis was weighed as a political event, the more it was 
felt to be a great deliverance. It was seen that when 
he was gone there remained little strength in the hold 
by which Scotland seemed bound over to the ambitious 
schemes of the Guises. If to a large portion of the Scots 
people their queen was also to be their enemy, she had 
lost her power to injure. Her early return was now de- 
sired, and preparations were made accordingly. 

The first public event in Scotland affecting the connec- 
tion of the leading men with their sovereign after the 
death of the king was the reception, early in the month 
of May, of an embassy or deputation from the new King 
of France. It was professedly sent for the purpose of 
condoling with them on the loss they had sustained by the 
death of King Francis, and on the effect this might have 
in breaking the close alliance of Scotland with France. 
Perhaps of the many events treated in diplomatic courtesy 
as occasions of sorrow, few have been less legitimately 
entitled to sympathy than this. But there was more and 
less innocent matter in the " Harangue,'* as it is called, 
of the leader of the embassy. He appears to have met 
in the hotel of the Hamilton family, close to the Kirk- 
of-Field, with a body of the chief political leaders as- 
sembled to arrange about the calling of a Parliament 
He assured this assemblage of the continued friendship 
of the King of France. He announced to them that 
their queen desired to bury the memory of all past 
offences, and to show a sincere love for her subjects, 
for which she desires them to render in return their 
perfect obedience to her, so that she may not have to 
regret her magnanimity. He had it in commission to 
express on the part of the king that, in assurance of 
his amity, he was prepared to offer to their queen a 
continuation of the ancient league between France and 
Scotland. He brought assurances, too, from the Queen- 
mother* Catherine of Medicij that she would assist in 



strengthening and maintaining the old friendship between 
the kingdoms. 

There was matter in all this to inflame the temper of a 
class of men who, on more propitious occasions, were apt 
to spurn admonitions by strangers to do their loyal duty.^ 
The opportunity for a gentle answer in the matter of con- 
dolence was courteously employed. On the other mat- 
ter, the purport of their answer was : " As for his offer of 
reconciling them with the queen, they are not otherwise 
affectioned towards her than became good and obedient 
subjects, and are willing to recognise the queen's good- 
ness with all submission and humble service. It is not 
very necessary to admonish tliem to do thus, which they 
acknowledge to be their duty. They beg that the king 
will be pleased to consider that there are no subjects in 
Europe more ready to serve their sovereign than they arc 
their queen." Even in the condolence there was a sting j 
if the king had lived, he would have looked into the 
recent troubles, not with the result of bringing the pro- 
moters of the revolution to chastisement On the contrary, 
with the conclusion of punishing " such of his ministers as 
were the occasion of the same." 

There are but scanty traces of the conduct and trans- 
actions of the ambassador after his "harangue." Knox 
briefly says that his demands were : " i. That the league 
betwixt us and England should be broken; 2. That the 
ancient league between France and Scotland should be 
renewed ; and, 3d, That the bishops and kirkmen should 

^ This part of the national character was skilfully touched in the 
instructions to the Earl of Bedford, whom we shall find associated with 
Throckmorton in his mission. In his intercourse with the Scots 
queen's uncles — ** If the said cardinal or duke shall enter into argu- 
ment of the disobedience of Scotland, the said ambassadors shall 
seem to answer of their own knowledge, how evil informed they be, 
seeing in what quietness the realm is since the departure of the men 
of war from thence ; and that the nature and manners of the people 
of England and Scotland are in that part somewhat like, for by 
gentleness they may be used or sometimes abused, but with force, 
and especially with a foreign governor, neither of them can agree ; 
whereof the time of King Philip in England, and the late time in 
Scotland, make good prooL" — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 508. 


be reponed in their former places, and be suffered to 
intromit with their livings." These weighty matters 
were deferred until the arrival of the Lord James from 
France, when a distinct negative was returned to each 

In the mean time, and before Randolph could decorously 
resume the object of his mission. Queen Mary had to re- 
ceive other visitors. Among these were two countrymen 
of her own, who, representing the two opposite parties in 
the great contest, reached her simultaneously at Vitry in 
Champagne. The one was her brother, the Lord James ; ^ 
the other represented the adherents of the old Church. 
Whatever counsel she received from her brother the leader 
of the Lords of the Congregation, cannot have harmonised 

^ History, ii. 156, 166 ; Diurnal of Occurrents, 64, 282. The 
** Oration " scene is founded on two documents : " Harangue of M. De 
ITsle to the Scottish Council,'* and " Answer of the Council of Scot- 
land to M. De risle," Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 16. There 
seems to be a mistake in the name. The date attributed to these is 
the middle of March, when De Noailles certainly was in Scotland on 
a mission from the King of France. His name, though disguised as 
Monsieur Newill in the Diurnal of Occurrents, is familiar in the 
history and correspondence of the period, while, even if it were 
likely that two emissaries came at the same time, I cannot identify 
any De I'lle as likely to haye been available for such a mission. 

^ The Lord James is better known by the title of his earldom of 
Moray, or Murray as custom has settled that it shall be called. He 
seems on this occasion to have gained from Throckmorton that high 
opinion ever conceded to him by the statesmen of Queen Elizabeth's 
Court. Throckmorton writes to Cecil : ** It is a great matter in this 
time to find a man of his credit in his country to be so ^EUthful and 
sincere as he is. I find in him wit enough for his years, much 
honour, and great fidelity. It is a good turn that so direct a man as he 
is hath the credit and love at home that he hath. " To Queen Elizabeth : 
'* I do well perceive the Lord James to be a very honourable, sincere, 
and godly gentleman, and very much affected to your majesty, upon 
whom you never bestowed good turn better than on him, in my 
opinion.'* To the Lords of the Council of England, after genersd 
remarks on his sincerity and magnanimity : '* What a great benefit 
it is for her majesty and your lordships to deal with such an upright 
man, and in so weighty afi&irs as betwixt prince and prince, realm 
and realm, and more especially when the press of men be much 
subject to dissimulation, cautels, and finesse, I leave to your lord- 
ships to consider." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 1861-62, 
76, 85, 97. 


with her temper and aspirations. But what passed between 
these two, holding to each other, both domestically and 
politically, a position so unusual and remarkable, was 
matter of much conjecture, but of little assurance, for 
neither of them was given to babble or to useless confi- 
dences. Better, perhaps, than from the current rumours, 
we may judge of Murray's conclusions from a letter writ- 
ten by him to Queen Elizabeth. She became impatient 
and alarmed at the treaty of Edinburgh, with its acknow- 
ledgment of her right to the throne of England, remaining 
unratified by the one person whose acknowledgment of 
her right was essential. She wrote to Randolph, desiring 
him to press this matter on the Scots Estates ; if they took 
it up, either they would in some way carry the ratifica- 
tion, or by showing their earnestness to promote it might 
frighten their queen from returning among them.^ Mur- 
ray wrote to Queen Elizabeth on the general question, in 
his usual grave deliberate fashion. It was a blessed thing 
to see the people of the two countries uniting in common 
objects — they whose ancestors had been for centuries 
enemies so bitter to each other. The Reformed religion 
had abolished the enmity, and secured this harmony. 
What pity, then, that while there is unity of purpose be- 
tween the bulk of the people in each of the two kingdoms, 
there should be diversity of purpose in the two heads. 
Here they are, two queens, each in the flower of her age, 
each adorned by all virtuous capacities and accomplish- 
ments, with this unfortunate gulf of religious variance be- 
tween them. Passing from such generals to particulars, 
he becomes earnest, and invokes the name of God to the 
strong sincerity of his grief that Queen Mary had ever done 
aught inferring a claim of right to Elizabeth's throne. At 
the same time. Queen Mary was the heir to the throne of 
England, and should be so dealt with until nearer heirs 
should arise in children born to the Queen of England 
He suggested, as a reasonable and a graceful termination 
of the whole dispute, that on the one side the right of 
Queen Elizabeth and her issue should be acknowledged ; 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 167. 


while, on the other side, the Queen of Scots should be 
treated as the heiress of the crown of England until such 
issue should appear.^ 

The other emissary, who came after him, was John 
Leslie, afterwards the Bishop of Ross, and Mary's stanch 
friend and supporter in her adversities. We have the 
object of his mission from himself. He represented 
the party of the old Church, especially the Lords Huntly, 
Athole, Crawford, Marischal, Sutherland, and Caithness. 
He says he offered the devoted duty of his party, and 
that it was thankfully received. He further tells the 
significant fact that he recommended her to land at 
Aberdeen, where twenty thousand troops would be at 
her disposal ; and that he was accompanied by one high 
in command in Huntl/s armed force, who was to arrange 
her convoy to Aberdeen, if she consented to land there. 
This was no less than the offer of the power of the north 
to strike at once a great blow against the Congregation 
and for the old religion. However it came to pass, the 
landing at Aberdeen was not effected ; but the proposal 
will be seen to have an intimate connection with events 
immediately following the queen's return to Scotland.^ 

Sir James Melville, with whom we shall make acquaint- 
ance hereafter, at that time a young politician, active and 
ambitious, was haunting the Court of Queen Mar}', as well 
as all other places where advancement might fall in his 
way. He was a keen observer, and tells us that she took 
counsel as to the future with some eminent Frenchmen, 
who had been in Scotland in the last war. He names 
De Martignes, D'Oisel, De la Brosse, the Bishop of May- 
ence, and Roubay, who having been vice-chancellor of 

' Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 239. 

^ History, vernacular version, 294. It is in the Latin version that 
the affair is more distinctly marked as a project of the Romish party, 
and that the army to he collected at Aberdeen is mentioned. The 
leader of the convoy was to be ** Jacobus CuUenus, ipsius Huntlaei 
cognatus, vir militiae terrestris ac navalis scientia plurimum valens, 
qui illam tutam ac incolumem Aberdoniam duceret." — P. 532. 
These particulars are repeated in Gordon's History of the Family of 
Gordon (i. 198), whether on Leslie's or other authority. See also 
Gordon's Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, 139. 


Scotland, must have seen something of the character of 
the people among whom he had to act. According to 
Melville, the tenor of their advice was " to sepre the time, 
and to accommode herself discreetly and gently with her 
own subjects, and to be maist familiar with my Lord James, 
Prior of St Andrews, her natural brother, and with the 
Earl of Argyle, who had married Lady Jean Stewart, 
her natural sister, and to use the Secretair Lethington 
and the Laird of Grange maist tenderly in all her affairs ; 
and in effect, to repose maist upon them of the Reformed 
religion." ^ Whether her subsequent conduct was directed 
by such advice is a point on which every one who follows 
her career will probably decide for himself 

She had other advisers to recommend to her the same 
course, but not with the same ultimate object. If she 
in the end deliberately undertook the policy of cherishing 
the triumphant Protestants, until she found the oppor- 
tunity for striking them a fatal blow, she had not made up 
her mind to this project, when, in the month of June, she 
had an open conversation on general topics with Throck- 
morton, as if they both sought relief from the sharp con- 
test about the ratification of the treaty. Describing the 
interview to his own queen, he renders what Queen Mary 
must have told him in French into very appropriate Eng- 
lish. " Well," said she, " I will be plain widi you, and tell 
you what I would all the world should think of me. The 
religion that I profess I take to be most acceptable to God, 
and indeed neither do I know nor desire to know any 
other. Constancy doth become all folks well, but none 
better than princes, and such as have rule over realms, and 
especially in the matter of religion. I have been brought 
up in this religion, and who might credit me in anything 
if I should show myself light in this case ? And though 
I am young, and not greatly learned, yet I have heard this 
matter disputed of by my uncle my Lord Cardinal, with 
some that thought they could say somewhat in the matter, 
and I found therein no great reason to change mine 
opinion.'' Here the ambassador put in that the Cardinal 

'■ Memoirs, 88. 


had confessed to the gross abuses and disorderliness 
among the clergy. Yes, she admitted that to be true; she 
had ofttimes heard her uncle say the like. The admission 
did not touch her fidelity ; in fact at that period it was a 
sign of sincerity or of bigotry when a professor of the old 
religion lamented the corruptions of the hierarchy and the 
viciousness of the men who held conspicuous rank in it. 
She was plausible, it might be said genial, when the am- 
bassador pressed her on the hard issues of irreconcilable 
beliefs. A firm adherent of the old Church, she would 
not constrain her subjects, — ^but in this her sense was that 
she would be lenient and gracious towards them in their 
transgression ; not that they had a right to think for them- 
selves. Her assurances of toleration were overshadowed 
by the assertion of supreme authority. The ambassador 
pleading against constraint on consciences because the 
duty due to God could not be given to another, she put 
it emphatically that God commanded subjects to be 
obedient to their princes.^ 

The Earl of Bedford, with instructions dated the 12 th of 
January 1561, was sent to strengthen the English mission 
by co-operation with Throckmorton. The two were directed 
to recommend Queen Mary to allow her subjects to be 
ruled by their own laws, in the hands of such natural-bom 
subjects as were found most capable to administer them. 
They were to remind her how well Scotland had been 
governed for her ever since the French troops had been 
driven out. They were to point out how, when her royal 
sister sent an army to Scotland, it was for no advantage 
to her own crown or kingdom. Nothing had been at- 
tempted for the aggrandisement of England ; on the con- 
trary, she had given all aid to the wardens of the marches 
to put down the outlaws, murderers, and thieves on both 
sides of the border, and to keep good order. They were 
to enlarge on such topics without coming to the particular 
matter of the ratification of the treaty of Edinburgh, unless 
Queen Mary herself were to open that question. If she do 
not, then in the end they must. They are to complain of the 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 151. 


vain delays during the king's life, and press the matter home. 
If it were ground of dubiety or hesitation that the King 
of France, who had been a party to the treaty, was dead, 
then let it be amended so as to accept complete fulfilment 
by Queen Mar/s own confirmation. Let them do anything 
to accomplish the vital object, Queen Mary's abandonment 
of her claims on England.^ They did their duty accord- 
ingly ; and it might be said that their pertinacity in this 
matter extended to rudeness and even to cruelty, were it 
not that they could plead the vital interests at stake as 
an excuse for earnest endeavour. 

If these experienced statesmen expected to mould the 
beautifiil young widow in her solitude and sorrows to 
their purpose they were mistaken. What they chiefly 
gained after repeated audiences was the assurance that 
their mistress was to have a dangerous neighbour, so far 
as plausibility and seductive influence might go. On the 
very weakness of her condition as a new-made widow 
among strangers, she founded an insuperable barrier 
against all their eflbrts. She was young, she was igno- 
rant, she had never acted for herself — her husband took 
all the cares and responsibilities of their high position 
on himself while he lived. How could they ask her to 
transact business — ^important business — without her proper 
advisers about her? They pointed out that she had 
advisers, able, experienced, and friendly, at hand in her 
two illustrious uncles — the Duke and the Cardinal It 
cannot have been that she should divine how oflensive 
such an influence would be felt to be in Scotland, yet by 
something like an instinct she saw that there was reason 
against this advice — no, they were not her proper advisers 
in the treatment of her realm in Scotland. They were 
themselves too wise and considerate to give her such 
advice — ^they never interfered in the affairs of Scotland. 
Revelations in the correspondence of the day tell another 
story; but had she selected a political position which 
Queen Elizabeth could not turn and her own people would 
thoroughly support, she could not have selected a better. 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 507. 


In fact, Queen Elizabeth had, in a manner that chafed 
her as savouring of presumption, enjoined her, as we have 
Seen, to walk by the counsel of those native subjects of 
her realm whose station commended them as her legiti- 
mate advisers. This little offence served her in good pur- 
pose. Had not the Queen of England, her most gracious 
sister, most kindly advised her in this matter, and would 
they, her servants, advise her to disregard the counsel so 
vouchsafed to her by their own royal mistress ? And, as 
appropriate to their queen's name coming up in the dis- 
course, concerning her there was a promise unfulfilled. 
She and her gracious sister were to exchange portraits. 
She had sent her own, but she had not received the much- 
desired equivalent She begged that there might he no 
delay about this — she could not rest until she was blessed 
with the likeness of that dear one. Afterwards when she 
received it, she was curious in her inquiries about the 
accuracy of its resemblance to " her lovely face." 

Bedford returned in the early spring of 1561, leaving 
his companion to do his best alone, and him we find 
cynically remarking in a letter to Cecil, how the injunc- 
tion to remain at his post until he obtain the ratification 
is equivalent to a doom of perpetual banishment. He 
persevered, however, dutifully to the end. His opportuni- 
ties were many; for the Queen, as if conscious of the 
power of baffling him at the beginning, and feeling an en- 
joyment in the facile use of her weapons, readily admitted 
him to interviews. His last was at a juncture that afforded 
his adversary a brilliant opportunity of putting him to 
shame. It was three days before she sailed for Scotland. 
She was at Abbeville, on her way from St Germains to 
Calais, where the galleys awaited her arrival. She was to 
resume her journey that evening, and had " somewhat 
to do." That treaty — she had no copy of it at hand. 
Throckmorton could supply the deficiency — he had it all 
sealed and ready for signature; but he saw, somewhat to 
his surprise, that she needed it not to refresh her memory. 
In a few casual remarks, lightly casting aside the possibihty 
of transacting this weighty business on a stage in a jour- 
ney, she showed an intimate and distinct acquaintance 

l6 QU££N MARY. 

with all the leading and emphatic provisions of the treaty. 
In these later interviews the ambassador got experience 
of another of her dialectic accomplishments, finding and 
feeling with what royal grace she could pass a sarcastic 
rebuke on an unworthy act She had requested from 
Queen Elizabeth, for her protection on her way to her 
kingdom, a safe-conduct or passport, that might be effec- 
tual either on the sea or in England. The request was 
refused, and Throckmorton had to announce the refusal 
She took for granted that Queen Elizabeth would en- 
deavour to intercept her. She spoke of all this with a 
kind of easy scorn. Queen Elizabeth's father had tried 
to kidnap her when she came to France as an infant He 
failed ; and perhaps Providence would be equally kind to 
her again, and bring her safe through the traps set by his 
daughter. Andif Queen Elizabeth were successful? Well, 
then, she would be at the mercy, no doubt, of the person 
who had so acted — ^and what would be the end ? For 
herself, simple enough ; she had but to submit to her fate, 
whatever it might be— captivity or death : but how for the 
other, with such a weight of infamy on her fame ? ^ 

^ It seems to be a question whether the passport requested by Queen 
Mary was for permission to land in England, and travel by land to 
Scotland, though Queen Elizabeth offered to her what she pleased 
in the shape of a royal progress, would she but ratify the treaty. 
Throckmorton's account of the matter in his announcement of the 
reftisal is : ** Madam, — Whereas you sent lately Monsieur D'Oysel 
to the queen my mistress, to demand her majesty's safe-conduct for 
your free passage by sea into your realm, and to be accommodated 
with such favours as upon events you might have need of on the 
coast of England, and also did farther require the free passage of the 
said Monsieur D'Oysel into Scotland through England : the queen 
my mistress hath not thought good to suffer the said Monsieur D'Oysel 
to pass into Scotland, nor to satisfy your desire for your passage 
home ; neither for such other favours as you required to be acconmio- 
dated withal at her majesty's hands, inasmuch as you have not 
accompli^ed the ratification of the treaty according to your deputies 
in July now twelve months ago, at Edinburgh, which in honour you 
were Dound many ways to perform." — Keith, 8vo edition, ii. 43. 
There seems no foundation for the belief that Queen Elizabeth had a 
deliberate design to intercept her. Naval preparations for such an 
act would have been known in France, and would have influenced the 
arrangements. Too much has been founded on a casual observation 

HER RETURN, 1561. I7 

This refusal of a passport was deemed so serious a step 
tliat the Spanish ambassador in France announced it to 
his master as an event likely to bring war between France 
and England. He observes that it was a gratuitous in- 

in a letter of Cecil's : ** The queen's majesty hath three ships in the 
North Seas to preserve the fishers from pirates — I think these will be 
sorry to see her pass." The significance of such brief remarks de- 
pends on the context, and this is supplied in Wright's Queen Eliza- 
beth (i. 67-69), where the letter it belongs to is printed at length. It 
would appear that these ships actually met the galleys and let them 
pass, if Cecil was rightly informed when he wrote to Throckmorton, 
saying: **The queen's majesty's ships that were upon the seas to 
cleanse them from pirates saw her and saluted her galleys ; and stay- 
ing her ships, examined them of pirates, and dismissed them gently ; 
one Scottish ship they detained, as vehemently suspected of piracy " 
— (Hardwicke's State Papers, 176). In construing this intelligence 
the difference of treatment towards galleys and sAips must be noted. 
Though it does not appear that as an act of national policy Queen 
Elizabeth's Government intended to intercept Queen Mary in her 
voyage, yet it seems to have been in the view of subordinates that 
they might do acceptable service by seizing accidental opportunities. 
For instance, the Earl of Rutland tells Cecil how he was adver- 
tised by a man from Bridlington that about four o'clock of the pre- 
\dous day, eight galle3rs and sixteen great ships were visible — ^it is 
not easy to reconcile this apparition with Brantome's : "EUe trou- 
vera au port deux galeres, . . . et deux navires de charge seule- 
ment pour tout armement" (p. no). The earl states that he had 
sent "Mr Strickland" to use all diligence and circumspection in the 
matter, giving this significant account of his duty : '* It is thought they 
will draw to the shore, which, if they do, and arrive, I have given 
such order as I nothing doubt but ye shall hear good news of her 
stay." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 254. It might account 
for interruptions and alarms, that there was a serious difficulty at that 
time between England and Spain, arising out of charges that English 
pirates had plundered Spanish vessels. In the course of the diplo- 
matic correspondence on this point it was maintained on the part of 
England that some of the guilty vessels belonged to Scotsmen, and 
that otlSers had sought refuge by running into the narrow seas of Scot- 
land, where English ships were endeavouring to trace them. And 
then all this petty complexity about the designs of Queen Elizabeth 
and the attempts to effect them is simplified, if we are to believe a 
brief announcement of Randolph, who was in Edinburgh at the time 
of the arrival and ravenous for news : " She never met or saw sMps 
upon the sea, for all the bruit that was of her stay that should have 
been" (ibid.) From casual remarks in the letters of the period, it 
seems possible that some diligent investigator may find that Queen 
Elizabeth thought better of the matter and granted the safe-conduct. 


suit; for Queen Elizabeth must know that information 
about the movements of the English fleet could be so 
easily and fully obtained at Calais, that Queen Mary might 
time her voyage with almost a certainty of safely com- 
pleting it The refusal had an ugly and discourteous aspect 
and yet something can be said for Queen Elizabeth in the 
matter. She was asked to permit a pretender to her 
throne to pass through England She put the granting 
of the passports and the ratifying of the treaty of Edin- 
burgh as equivalents. Let Queen Mary abandon her 
claims by signing the treaty — then she would be received 
in England with all honour and hospitality.^ 

Queen Mary embarked to return to Scotland on the 
14th of August 1 56 1. She and her escort sailed from 
Calais in two of the galleys then almost peculiar to France, 
as vessels which went before the wind when they could, 
and were rowed by galley-slaves on benches at other 
times. Two ordinary sailing vessels attended, the whole 
making a fleet of four. She was well escorted. There 
were with her, besides many minor nobles of France, her 
two uncles, the Duke of Aumale and the Marquis of El- 
boeuf ; her two adorers, Marshal d'Amville, and Chastellar, 
whose adoration afterwards cost him so dear. There was 
Strozzi — apparently the son of the general who besieged St 
Andrews — ^and La None, afterwards known in the Hugue- 
not wars as Bras de Fer.^ By far the most interesting, how- 
ever, of her attendants to us at the present day was Bran- 
tome, who sailed in the same galley with her.^ Her conduct 
during the voyage has been treasured and told in various 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 1560-61, p. 574 ; 1561-62, 
p. 46, 58, 166, 67, 179, 187, 196, 244. Letters from Throckmorton, 
Keith (8vo ed.), ii. 26 et seq. 

2 M. de Castelneau, 1. iii. ch. i. 

* It might be inferred from what Leslie says, that she was then 
accompanied by her evil genius, Bothwell : **Not long efter, the 
Earls Bothwell and Eglintoun, the Bishop of Orkney, and sindry 
other noblemen and clerks, arrivet in France, wha retumet in Scot- 
land with the queen's majesty again." — P. 295. In the Latin ver- 
sion, Bothwell's going to France is mentioned ; but in the train 
coming to Scotland with the queen, only the French are mentioned, 
as in Bran tome. The author of a contemporary diary says : ** Upon 
the 21 day of Februar, my Lord Bothwell landed in Scotland out of 
France." — Diurnal of Occurrents, 64. 

HER RETURN, 1561. I9 

shapes ; but as the original source of all of them is a few 
precious sentences by that vivid writer in his little book 
' Des Dames lUustres,' it may be well to adhere to what 
is so said. A light wind sprang up, the crew of galley- 
slaves were released from their labours, and the sails set 
As the lumbering vessels moved slowly away, the queen 
sat beside the helm, as the place where she would be 
nearest the land she was leaving. She gazed on it with 
her fine eyes, and wept bitterly throughout the remaining 
fiyQ hours of daylight, repeating over and over the simple 
words," Adieu, France !" When the sight of land faded 
into the darkness, she uttered passionate words about the 
jealous night drawing its curtain before her, and with tears 
falling faster and faster, exclaimed that the sight of France 
was now lost to her — she would never see it more. She 
then became conversible, and spoke of herself with her 
eyes bent on the land, dropping a sentiment about her re- 
versing the attitude of Dido, who, when iEneas departed, 
ever gazed on the sea. She slept on the deck, desiring 
the pilot to waken her immediately, should the land be- 
come again visible at dawn. The wind fell, and the slaves 
were set to their slow labours again, so that next morning 
the coast was still to be seen; and sitting up, she looked on 
it till it vanished, crying — "Adieu la France, cela est fait! 
Adieu la France, je pense ne vous voir jamais plus ! *' The 
queen reached her dominion through the port of Leith on 
the morning of the 1 9th of August. The voyage was made 
with unusual rapidity — in four days, as it appears. The 
event was not expected.^ The arrival of their queen was 
announced to the nearest inhabitants by the discharge of 
the guns mounted on the galleys. Whatever arrangements 
were in preparation for the event had not been completed, 
and the contrast betweeen Scotland and France was 
rather exaggerated than modified. She and her following 

* Randolph, writing a week later, says : ** The noblemen were all 
absent, saving the Lord Robert ; her arrival was so sudden, that no 
man thought of her. Incontinent upon the news there arrived 
the duke first, next the Lord James, then the Earl of Arran. Since 
that time the repair has been great of all sorts. All men welcome — 
all men well received; good entertainment, good cheer, and fair 
words." — Calendar of Stat* Papers (Foreign), 278. 


ha<l to wait some time at Leith ere horses — there were 
no carriages — could be procured for them. Brantome, 
whose narrative still accompanies us, says the queen burst 
into tears at the sorry contrast with the gorgeous proces- 
sions of France. He says nothing more, however, against 
the equipage, save that it consisted of the horses of the 
country, with conformable harness ; but this he seems to 
have thought enough. 

Some zealous citizens sought to enliven her first night 
at Holyrood by a serenade, in which it is said that fid(fies 
with three strings bore a conspicuous and discordant part. 
Whatever effect the discord may have had on the queen 
herself, it seems to have grated direfully on the nerves of 
Brantome, who describes the attempt as some five or six 
hundred " marauds " performing on mechans violons and 
petits rebecs ; continuing, by way of aggravation apparently, 
that the music, abominably performed by them, partook 
of the nkture of psalmody. The serenade is described by 
an observer of a different order in Knox's History, where 
we are told that " a company of most honest men, with 
instruments of music and with musicians, gave their salu- 
tations at her chamber window," and that the queen said 
the melody -** liked her well," and she wished the same to 
be continued some nights after. 

The spoilt beauty expected to find in the land of her 
destiny a dreary contrast with that of her adoption, and 
she found her expectations fully realised. France, though 
now more closely and economically cultivated, scarcely 
bears to outward appearance a richer raiment of civilised 
fruitfulness than it did then. Wherever royalty was 
likely to resort, there were palaces and chateaus, walled 
towns, fine churches, and great stretches of pleasure-ground. 
Scotland was yet ignorant of the high cultivation which 
has warmed her cold landscape and softened her dreary 
winds. There was a greater contrast even in the people 
than in the country. England was behind France in a 
certain kind of civilisation ; the Court and the aristocracy 
were more home-spun and yeoman-like. Scotland was a 
much greater distance behind England, and lacked the 
solid respectability which was then ripening into a civili- 

HER RETURN, 1561. 21 

sation more firm and true than that of France. The com- 
mon people of Scotland were perhaps as well off as those 
of France, but they were not subdued to the same sub- 
missive order, being self-willed, boisterous, and, down to 
the very humblest grade, even proud. 

In France, the Court, through its power and wealth, 
could effectually isolate itself from the people, clearing 
away whatever was sordid and disagreeable, all around. 
In Scotland, the common people, such as they were, 
pressed close around the palace-door, and haunted royalty 
wherever it went. The contrast between the two na- 
tions, thus considerable in the lowest sphere of society, 
increased rather than diminished with the ascending 
grades, and was greatest among the courtiers immediately 
surrounding the throne. There were many country 
seigneurs in France, who practised rough hospitality and 
tyranny in their own domains, and were seen but on rare 
occasions at Court, where they were the objects of ridicule 
and horror. But those who frequented the Court had 
mounted as high in the scale of external elegance and fas- 
tidiousness as the world has ever reached. Though cor- 
roding vices were eating all morality out of it, the Court 
abounded in as much elegant luxury and external refine- 
ment as it has ever known at any later age. There was a 
high polish in the very vices of the period. If there were 
gluttony and drunkenness, they exercised themselves in 
the most skilfully prepared meats and costly wines. 
French cookery had made wonderful strides as a skilful 
art, and had produced one master-mind. Sensuality in- 
dulged itself in exquisite works of art and inspired poetry. 
The men even were profuse in silks and velvets, indulged 
in perfumes, and kept diminutive monkeys and silky 
spaniels as pets. Murder itself was refined, by a preference 
of subtle poisons, skilfully prepared, over the bloody 
brawls of earlier times. A portion of these vices and tri- 
vialities, covered with a thin polish, had been transferred 
by the French courtiers to their faithful allies of Scotland ; 
but these tended rather to expose and aggravate than 
to subdue the natural character of the Scots aristocracy. 
Their dress was that of the camp or the stable ; they weie 


dirty in person, and abrupt and disrespectful in manner, 
carrying on their disputes, and even fighting out their 
fierce quarrels, in the presence of royalty, which had by 
no means accomplished the serene imperial isolation which 
the sovereigns of France had achieved since the days of 
Francis I. 

One man, called in the correspondence of the day " Cap- 
tain Hepburn," gained notoriety by excelling his neigh- 
bours in intrusive insolence to the young queen. While 
she was in a group of courtiers talking to Sir Harry Sydney, 
he slipped a packet into her hand. If Randolph's ac- 
count of what was within it be accurate, he might well 
say that he knew not in what honest terms to describe it 
There were obscene poetic descriptions made emphatic 
by pictorial illustrations — altogether such a morsel as de- 
corous people might imagine — but are not likely to have 
ever seen — adjusted to gratify the lusts of those frequent- 
ing the lowest resorts of brutal profligacy.^ 

It was one redeeming feature of the close pressure oif 
the sordid elements of life on the presence of royalty, that 
it gave opportunity to the sovereign to show kindness and 
amiability — and of these qualities the queen had ever a 
store at command. She had been trained in a land 
heavily laden with human misery and degradation, but it 
was all kept out of sight of royal eyes. Had it been vis- 
ible and accessible it had been found all too mighty, as it 
was for centuries after, to be mitigated by royal tender- 
ness. But the humble poverty in the smaller country was 
a lighter difficulty. She interested herself about the poor 
in various ways, and we find the English resident in admi- 
ration of her patient and judicious efforts to see them 
righted in the courts of law, stimulating the organisation 
for the assistance and protection of pauper litigants, and 
sometimes attending the courts while their causes were in 
process. It was in the nature of the Stewart kings to act 

^ Captain Hepburn's name has come down in this story only. 
Bandolph says he is " requested by the queen to write to Lord Grey 
for the apprehension of Captain Hepburn, who played of late a most 
shamefiil part with her grace, and has fled into England.'' — Calen- 
dar of State Papers (Foreign), loth August 1562. 

HER RETURN, 1561. 23 

popularly and kindly to their humbler subjects, as we have 
seen especially in her father's history; and it happens 
that there are vestiges of a practical interest taken in the 
cause of the friendless litigant by her mother, who, like 
herself, had little opportunity for the exercise of such amia- 
bilities before her abode in Scotland. 

With the exception of a few castles which had been 
built in the French style, the best families were crowded 
into narrow square towers, in which all available means 
had been exhausted in strength, leaving nothing for com- 
fort or elegance. The royal residences were little better. 
The more roomy portions of Linlithgow, Stirling, and Falk- 
land, as we now see them, did not then exist. Holyrood, 
though then very different from what it now is, was pro- 
bably an exception to the general sordidness. It was 
the new palace, and was consequently built up to the 
taste and luxury of the age. It had been completed but 
a few years previously by James V. The park included 
the fine mountain-range of Arthur Seat The lands of 
Duddingston, with their loch, had just been added to it ; 
and thus, with rocks, trees, and water, the palace and its 
park bore some faint analogy to the glories of Fontaine- 

On one important point a difference between the two 
Courts was disagreeably and alarmingly conspicuous — the 
unprotected condition of the sovereign and her Court, 
from the want of any armed force, whose duty it was to 
guard the royal person. In France, besides many other 
armed retainers of the household, there was the thor- 
oughly disciplined body of the Scots Guard — mercenary 
foreigners, in the usual phraseology of later times, but at 
the same time a body of honourable tried men, entirely 
devoted to their employer, and by their foreign birth dis- 
connected with the native aristocracy, against whom they 
were the crown's chief support. 

While every head of a considerable family in Scotland, 
down to the humblest landowner, had some regular armed 
following, the crown alone had none. The feudal tenants 
of the crown were bound, indeed, to furnish their quotas 
to the national armament; but the troops so assembled 


were entirely under their feudal leaders, and were often 
questionable supporters, if not dangerous neighbours, to 
the sovereign. Memorable incidents, some of which 
were yet to come, show how unprotected the royal per- 
son might be in Scotland. The early Stewart kings were 
men and soldiers who could always manage to keep a 
force of some sort at their call : but Mary severely felt 
the want of a permanent armed body, whose duty it was 
without interference on her part, to be always protecting 
her and her feminine Court — and her son was scarcely 
better fitted to dispense with it. All Mary's efforts, how- 
ever, to establish a royal guard, were, like the attempt of 
her mother, sternly resisted, calling out a deep national 
antipathy to anything approaching to the character of a 
standing army. When an alarm arose in the palace that 
the crazy Earl of Arran was going to seize the queen, 
and sudden efforts were made for her protection against 
dangers which soon turned out to be unreal, she was 
suspected of having planned the cause of alarm to prove 
the necessity of establishing a household guard.^ 

On the 2d of September, a fortnight after her landing, 
she had to undergo the ordeal of a popular demonstra- 
tion by the citizens of Edinburgh. They were to make 
a "propine" or goodwill - offering to her.* It was a 
present of a cupboard " double overgilt," which had cost 
2000 merks. The giving of it was to be the occasion of 
a pageant, which was to salute her in a progress through 
the city. It was witnessed by one who chronicled in their 
order tiie events of the time, and the show delighted him, 
so far as to inspire some spirit into a narrative, tiie general 
merits of which are to be found in the brevity and pre- 
cision with which he states in their proper order of 
sequence the events of that stirring period.^ 

^ See Knox, ii 293. 

•This term, "propine" or "propyne," rarely if at all used in 
England, was a favourite in Scotland in the sixteenth century. It is 
of dassic and convivial origin, coining from the Greek and Latin for 
handing the partially-drained cup to the gnest, or in English lyrical 
phraseology, "passing the bowL 

• The crisis of the pageant is as follows : — 

" And thereafter, when she was lydand down the CastellhilL thaii 

HER RETURN, 1561. 2$ 

The Protestant clergy, and those of their political par- 
tisans who were also their followers in religion, had mixed 
the sentiment of the English Puritan with the Calvinism of 
the Huguenots, and disliked exhibitions and pastimes. 
On this occasion, however, there was something to pro- 
pitiate them. There was the significant presentation of a 
Bible to the Popish gueen ; and the children resembling 
angels, who presented the propine, " made some speech 
concerning the putting away of the mess, and thereafter 
sang ane psalm.** ^ 

There were pageants or exhibitions of a less innocent 
character, which yet had a tendency that made them not 
entirely unwelcome to the Congregation. These were the 
ritualistic revels, called by the French the /ites des foux. 
They are not to be confounded with the legitimate mys- 

met hir hienes ane convoy of the young men of the said burgh, to the 
nomber of fyftie or thairby, thair bodeis and theis coverit with yellow 
tafTateis, thair armes and leggs, fra the kne doun, bair, cullorit with 
blak, in maner of Moris, upon thair heiddes blak hattis, and on thair 
faces blak visouris, in thair mouthis rings, gamesit with intellable 
precious staneis, about thair nekkis, leggis, and armes insynit of 
chenis of gold ; togidder with saxtene of the maist honest men of the 
toun, cled in velvet gownis and velvet bonettis, berand and gangand 
about the paill under the whilk hir hienes raid, whilk paill wes of 
fyne purpour velvet lynit with reid taffateis, freingiet witn gold and 
silk ; and after thame wes ane cart with certane baimes, togidder 
with ane coffer whairin wes the copburd and propyne whilk suld be 
propynit to hir hienes. And when hir grace come fordwart to the 
butter-trone of the said burgh, the nobilitie and convoy foirsaid pre- 
cedand, at the whilk butter-trone thair was ane port made of tymber 
in maist honourable maner, cullorit with fyne cullouris, hungin with 
syndrie armes, upoun the whilk port wes singand certane bameis in 
the meist hevinlie wyis ; under the whilk port thair wes ane cloud 
opynnand with four levis, in the whilk was put ane bonny bame. And 
when the quenes hienes was cumand throw the said port, the said 
doude opynnit, and the bame discendit doun as it had bene ane angell, 
and deliverit to her hienes the keyis of the toun, togidder with ane 
Bvbill and ane Psalme-buik coverit with fyne purpourit velvet ; and 
aner the said bame had spoken some small speitches, he deliverit 
alsoa to hir hienes thre writtingis, the tennour thairof is uncertane. 
* That being done, the bame ascendit in the cloud, and the said dud 
stekit" — Diurnal of Occurrents, 67. 

^ Ibid. See an account of the same pageant, Knox's History, ii. 
287, 288. He says, " The verses of her own praise she heard, and 
tnuled ; but when the Bible was presented, and the praise thereof 
dedflied, she began to frown.'* 


teries, which were attempts, however unseemly, to impress 
religious notions on the people by the acting of the criti- 
cal events in Scripture history in such a manner as to seize 
the attention and attract the admiration of the uninstructed. 
The others had nothing in them professing to aim at the 
reverent or devout, but were acts of profane ribaldry, of 
which the point was the travestjdng, by some lewd and 
brutal antithesis, the most solemn ordinances of the 
Church. They were generally pinned to something or 
other in sacred history. Conspicuous among them was . 
the Feast of Asses. Its chief actor was the ass of Balaam, 
or one supposed to stand beside the manger, or that on 
which the Saviour rode. Whichever it might be, a donkey 
clad in grotesque canonicals was brought into the most 
sacred parts of the church, and there a brutal mob made 
sport of the beast to the full satiety of their lust of the 
profane. Another feast, more formidable if less disgust- 
ing, was dedicated to the Innocents, and brought the 
whole children of the neighbourhood to do their will 
among the vestments, ornaments, and shrines of the 
church. These things had been allowed to become an 
established formula of the decorous Church of Rome. 
How they arose, is a mystery which has defied solution. 
It has a literature of its own, and is worthy of far more 
zealous efforts to reach its causes and early history than 
any yet made. 

If such observances were troublesome when the Church 
was powerful and revered, it is easy to believe what they 
would become when it was tottering to its fall. If there 
were rules by which the licensed ribaldry was restrained 
and measured out, the populace broke through them. 
They could thus, in following up old traditional usages of 
the Church, inflict the most stinging insults on the priest- 
hood ; and if the Church had thus provided a means of 
mortal injury in the house of its friends, its enemies were 
not naturally called on to interfere for its relief. 

But the populace was impartial, and would have the 
revels condemned by the new Church as well as those 
that might offend the old. Queen Mary had arrived 
almost in time to find the city of Edinburgh tossed by a 


bloody tumult. The tradesmen of the city would have 
the old pageant of Robin Hood and Little John. The 
Congregation would not abide it, and they had an Act of 
Parliament for its suppression, on their side. A riotous 
shoemaker was committed to the Tolbooth — the well- 
known Heart of Mid-Lothian. He was so far implicated 
that death was to be his doom. We see the influence at 
work in this rigid act, when we are told that his friends 
besought John Knox to procure his release ; but Knox of 
course was obdurate, and would " do nothing but have 
him hangit." His comrades collected. They seized and 
locked up the magistrates, and tore down the gibbet; 
next they battered in the door of the prison and released 
their comrade, while, with a good-fellowship common to 
such occasions, they permitted all the inmates of the 
prison to escape. There was no force sufficient to con- 
tend with them, and the magistrates were glad to make 
terms on the foundation of a general amnesty.^ 

To return to the young queen, set down amid all these 
contending elements, great and small. She had many 
difficulties to deal with, formidable among which was that 
she, a thorough devotee of the Church of Rome, had 
come among a people of whom the greater portion, in- 
cluding all the ruling men, had become Protestants. 
There was little toleration in that age, and it was a thing 
undreamed of in France, whence both parties took their 
principles. When at any time there was religious quiet- 
ness there, and Protestants had rights as well as their op- 
ponents, it was in reality but a truce between enemies 
prepared soon to fly at each other's throats — each abstain- 
ing only because the other was too riearly his equal in 
strength to be easily prostrated. 

The contest broke out on the first Sunday after her 
arrival. It was known, of course, that she would hear 
private mass in her chapel ; and whether on the grounds 
of Christian toleration, or of the promises made to her, it 
was useless to argue with men who, in the words of Knox, 
• * began openly to speak, * Shall that idol be suffered to 

^ Diurnal of Occurrents, 65. 


take place again within this realm ? It shall not;' '* or with 
the Master of Lindsay and his followers from Fife, " The 
idolater priest shall die the death according to God's 
law." Some violence was done to a priest carrpng a 
candle ; and the chapel would have been burst open had 
not the Lord James defended the door — an act for which 
he was rebuked by Knox, who says in conclusion, " And 
so the godly departed with great grief of heart" 

A proclamation was issued, denouncing, on the one 
hand, as penal, any attempt to interfere with the form of 
religion which the queen found publicly and universally 
standing at her arrival in the realm ; and, on the other 
hand, requiring that her French followers should not be 
molested in the private exercise of their religion. In- 
spired by a bold thought, however, the queen resolved to 
go to the root of the evil, and endeavour to talk over the 
formidable head of the Church. In demanding an inter- 
view with Knox, there is little doubt that she anticipated 
a triumph from her never-failing blandishments ; and she 
courted the ordeal of the discussion as one seeks an arena 
where triumph seems secure. She had seen little in 
France to prepare her for the rugged nature on which she 
was to play her wit and allurements. No other person 
was present in the same room but the Lord James. It 
has been said that the Reformer treated the queen on the 
occasion with gross insult. It is probable that he did 
not observe very closely the complicated etiquettes of 
the French Court ; but neither would the Scots nobles 
of the day, Protestant or Romish. Her grave brother 
would, doubtless, have protected her from absolute insult, 
had any been offered. Though there are many accounts 
of this renowned dialogue, the one given by Knox him- 
self in his History is the source of sdl the others, and to 
that we must go back as the sole authority for the scene.^ 
It is extremely picturesque and lifelike, and has the ap- 
pearance of doing honest justice to the ready wit of the 
queen, as it certainly does to the relentless bigotry of the 

^ History, ii. 277 a stq. 


narrator. She first rallied him on his attacks upon 
feminine rule in the tract which had been his stumbling- 
block with Queen Elizabeth— the Blast of the Trumpet 
against the monstrous Regiment of Women. He seems 
to have felt that, with matters of difference behind it far 
more serious, he need not have a contest on this with the 
Popish queen; and it was easily, if not gracefully, got 
over. He did not deny his objection to feminine rule, 
but he did not intend specially to attack her title — " that 
book was written most especially against that wicked 
Jezebel of England," Mary Tudor. For his part in the 
particular instance before him, '^ if the realm finds no in- 
convenience from the regiment of a woman,*' that which 
his countrymen approve he shall not gainsay, but shall 
be as well content to live under her grace " as Paul was 
to live under Nero." He afterwards, however, gave a 
casual but significant inference to this strong comparison, 
by arguments which referred to Paul living quietly at 
Rome because he was powerless and could not resist, 
while the Paul of Edinburgh was powerfiil, and had 
another line of duty before him. The queen turned the 
argument on resistance to princes. Her opponent asked, 
what would have been the fate of mankind had all 
adopted the religion of their princes — had Abraham 
worshipped with Pharaoh, and the apostles submitted to 
the religion of the Roman emperors ? ^' and so, madam, 
ye may perceive that subjects are not bound to the 
religion of their princes, albeit they are commanded to 
give them obedience.*' With a ready dialectic power of 
which the Reformer, hurried on by his zeal, seems to 
have been unconscious, the queen marked off the differ- 
ence between passive resistance, in which each subject 
individually worships according to his own conscience 
without regarding the religion of the ruler, and that de- 
sire to coerce the ruler to his own views, of which she 
accused Knox. But the very words of this portion of the 
dialogue are necessary to express its import. The queen 
remarked that none of those he had referred to raised 
their sword against their princes. 

30 QU££N MARY. 

" * Yet, madam/ quoth he, * ye cannot deny but that 
they resisted ; for they that obey not the commandments 
that are given, in some sort resist.' 

" ' But yet,* said she, * they resisted not by the sword.' 

" * God,' said he, * madam, had not given unto them the 
power and the means.' 

" * Think ye,' quoth she, * that subjects having power 
may resist their princes?* 

" * If their princes exceed their bounds, * quoth he, 
* and do against that wherefor they should be obeyed, it 
is no doubt but what they may be resisted even by power. 
For there is neither greater honour nor greater obedience 
to be given to kings or princes than God has commanded 
to be given unto father and mother. But so it is, madam, 
that the father may be stricken by a frenzy in the which 
he would slay his own children. Now, madam, if the 
children arise, join themselves together, apprehend the 
father, take the sword or other weapons from him, and 
finally bind his hands and keep him in prison till that his 
frenzy be overpast, think ye, madam, that the children do 
any wrong? Or think ye, madam, that God will be 
offended with them that have stayed their father to com- 
mit wickedness ? It is even so,' said he, * madam, with 
princes that would murder the children of God that are 
subject imto them. Their blind zeal is nothing but a very 
mad frenzy ; and therefore to take the sword from them, 
to bind their hands, and to cast themselves in prison till 
that he be brought to a more sober mind, is no disobedi- 
ence against princes, but just obedience, because that it 
agreeth with the will of God.'" 

The narrator here tells us that " at these words the 
queen stood, as it were, amazed more than a quarter of an 
hour." Nor can this be wondered at, if she saw the full 
import of the exposition, as showing that her profession 
of Romanism was like the frenzy of the parent — a thing 
which entitled the children to seize and bind, in self-pro- 
tection against the bloody consequences. She spoke of 
her conscience, but was told that conscience required 
knowledge, and it was to be feared that of the right know- 
ledge she had none. But she had heard and read — so 


had the Jews who crucified Christ ; they heard the law 
and the prophets, she the Pope and the cardinals. "*Ye 
interpret the Scriptures/ said she, * in one manner, and 
they interpret in ane other — ^whom shall I believe, and 
who shall judge ? ' " The answer is ready. " * Ye shall 
believe,' said he, ' God that plainly -speaketh in His 
Word ; ' " or, as a duller mind than hers would plainly see, 
she must obey Knox and the Congregation. Throughout 
the whole dialogue he does not yield the faintest shred ot 
liberty of conscience, or leave it for one moment doubtful 
that the queen has any other course before her save sub- 

And yet the interview seems in some measure to have 
warped the stem rigidity of his original purpose. He 
joined with those who were for giving her a trial, a back- 
sliding of which he seems afterwards to have bitterly re- 
pented. It was plainly put, he says, that "she will be 
content to hear the preaching ; and so, no doubt, but 
she may be won — and thus of all it was concluded to 
suffer her for a time." " So careful was I, '* he con- 
tinues, " of that common tranquillity, and so loath was 
I to have offended those of whom I had conceived a 
good opinion, that in secret conference with earnest 
and zealous men I have travailed rather to mitigate, 
yea, to sloken that fervency that God had kindled in 
others, than to animate or encourage them to put their 
hands to the Lord's work — whereintil I unfeignedly ac- 
knowledge myself to have done most wickedly." 

This view of the state of the Reformer's mind at 
that juncture is singularly confirmed by a remarkable 
letter written by him to Calvin, which has been lately 
found. It is dated from Edinburgh on the 24th of 
October 1561. It is the more curious as a private 
pouring out of its writer's griefs, that Knox had offered 
his services to obtain the opinion of Calvin and the 
fathers of the Geneva Church on the course which the 
Protestants should pursue in Scotland, and was stayed 
by Lethington, who offered to take that duty on himself 
— he was trimming at the time between the Court and 
the Congregation, and Knox charged him with making 


the oflfer as an expedient to gain time.* Whatevei 
Lethington may have done, the researches of the French 
antiquaries have shown, by producing the very docu- 
menty that Knox was not to be deterred from his pur- 
pose of consulting Calvin.^ It is the letter of a man 
sad at heart, and sincerely penitent for not having, in 
the hour of trial, been strong enough to do the stem duty 
which his faith demanded of him, and now willing to 
atone. He tells the mournful news that the idolatrous 
mass had again been set up in purified Scotland. There 
were those of gravity and authority who had thought that 
they could not in conscience stand by and permit this 
thing to be done. It had been pleaded that the clergy of 
Geneva, and himself, Calvin, had expressed an opinion 
that they were not entitled to prohibit the queen from 
openly professing her own religion. He desires to know 
if this is true ; he courteously acknowledges how trouble- 
some he has been for advice, but there is no other bosom 
on which he can repose his cares. He had never before 
seen how formidable and difficult it was to contend with 
hypocrisy, disguised under the name of piety. Never, in 
the midst of his hardest struggle with open enemies, had 
he despaired of victory ; but so wounded was he by this 
perfidious defection from Christ — which its perpetrators 
chose to term indulgence — that strength was failing him 
for the labour before him. 

It is probable that this letter never reached its desti- 
nation. The answer it would have received can be easily 
anticipated. Even the faint remaining scruples enter- 
tained by Knox himself would have been at once dis- 
persed by the conclusive logic of him who knew no doubts, 
and permitted no paltering between truth and error. We 
have here the beginning of a series of events in which it 
will be seen that, when it came to actual deeds, the Scots 
nation shrank from enforcing the rules of faith and 
action which they received from the sanguinary Hugue- 

^ Knox, IL 292. 

' See the letter, which is in Latin, with a facsimile, Teulet, ii. 12. 

' Dr M*Crie, criticising the observation of an anonymous French 


KnoZy before he wrote this letter, had in reality seen 
grounds for penitence in the alarming reaction towards 
Romanism. The Congregation had gradually lost a good 
deal of that absolute power which seemed to leave it as 
a question of discretion with them whether they would 
tolerate their sovereign's religion or not The magistrates 
of Edinburgh had been in the practice, on their election, 
of issuing a proclamation against certain classes of crimi- 
nals and profligates, calling them by names which, how- 
ever appropriate, it is not now deemed decorous need- 
lessly to repeat. On this occasion they added to the list 
the " massmqngers " and the "obstinate Papists, that 
corrupted the people ; " " which, blown in the queen's 
ears,*' says Knox, " there began pride and maliciousness 
to show the self." Proceedings were taken against the 
magistrates, and the town council were constrained to ap- 
point others in their stead, who issued a proclamation of a 
different tenor, " and so got the devil freedom again where 
that before he durst not have been seen in the daylight 
upon the common streets. Lord, deliver us from that 
bondage ! " Such is the pious ejaculation with which the 
Reformer relieves his mind ere he passes from this de- 
plorable event.^ 

At a public banquet given by the city of Edinburgh to 
the queen and her Court, including her French followers, 
a mystery was performed, in which was enacted the de- 
struction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, for burning 
strange fire on the altar. There was nothing palpable in 

writer who compares Popery with Calvmism, says of the reception of 
Queen Mary : *'l maintain that, in the state of men's spirits at that 
time, if a Huguenot queen had come to take possession of a Roman 
Catholic kingdom with the slender retinue with which Mary went to 
Scotland, the first thing they would have done would have been to 
arrest her ; and if she had persevered in her religion, they would have 
procured her degradation by the Pope, thrown her into the Inquisi- 
tion, and burnt her as a heretic There is not an honest man who can 
deny this." — P. 177. Perhaps not, if the affair had taken place in 
France or Spain. But there is no reason to suppose that any Roman 
Catholic prince who fell under the power of the French Huguenots 
would have experienced a better fate. 
^ Knox, iL 289, 290, with Laing's notes. 



this which might not tell against the one priesthood as 
well as the other, although it might be easy to know 
which was meant. But when the actors went on to parody 
the mass, and burn in effigy a priest in his canonicals, the 
Popish Earl of Huntly was permitted audaciously to sup- 
press the performance. But there were other and more 
serious indications of the tendency of events, insomuch 
that " the devil, guiding his reins, ran forward in his course, 
and the queen took upon her greater boldness than she 
and Baal's bleating priests durst have attempted before." * 
A sort of crisis was brought on by the solemn celebration 
of Hallow mass. A meeting of the Congregation, lords, 
and clergy, was held in the house of Macgill, the lord 
clerk register, where it was gravely discussed^ " whether 
that subjects might put to their hand to suppress the 
idolatry of their prince." The laymen present, with the 
Lord James and Lethington at their head, were for the 
most part favourable to the proposition " that the queen 
should have her religion free in her own chapel, to do, she 
and her household, what they list." The ministers seem 
to have unanimously voted against this proposition, main- 
taining that ere long " her liberty should be their thral- 
dom." But the lay votes carried the proposition, so far 
as that meeting was concerned. 

Another dispute among the Protestants, in which the 
clergy, nearly alone, held one side, carried the war into 
their own ground. They had adopted, besides the Con- 
fession of Faith, a Book of Discipline, being an outline of 
an organisation for the new Church. It is Imown as ' The 
First Book of Discipline.' They desired that it should 
have the sanction of the Crown and Parliament and be 
made the law of the land. 

The Protestant nobles and lairds were ready to accept 
all denunciations of Antichrist and Popish idolatry, nor 
did they hesitate at accepting the Calvinistic doctrines 
of the new faith just as Knox and his assistant minis- 
ters set them forth, they had, hence, at once adopted 
the Confession of Faith in Parliament But the Book of 

^ Knox, 291. 


Discipline affected practice as well as faith, and enforced 
certain stripgent restraints to which it would have been 
inconvenient for some, who were the readiest to subscribe 
propositions of theological metaphysics, to submit. Seve- 
ral, it is true, 'had found it expedient to sign the document; 
but Lethington, with a sneer, asked how many even of 
these would be subject to the conditions of that book ; 
and he emphasised the taunt by sa)ring, "Many sub- 
scribed these in Jide parentum, as the bairns are baptised," 
meaning that the subscription was but the mere temporary 
conformity for obtaining an object, which men submit to 
when they ask for a ceremonial such as a baptism. Knox, 
whose ire was roused, reminded him that the book " was 
read in public audience ; and by the space of divers days 
the heads thereof was reasoned, as all that here sit know 
well enough, and ye yourself cannot deny." Another of 
the laymen expressed the general impatience among them, 
by telling him at once " to stand content — that book will 
not be obtained." " Let God," said Knox, finding farther 
discussion useless, " require the lack which this poor com- 
monwealth shall have of the things therein contained, from 
the hands of such as stop the same." ^ 

Elsewhere, in a general view of the dispute, he leaves 
this emphatic testimony to the conduct and motives of his 
lay comrades in the work of reformation, when dealing 
with the Book of Discipline : " Some approved it, and will 
the same had been set forth by a law. Others, perceiving 
their carnal liberty and worldly commodity somewhat to 
be impaired, thereby grudged, insomuch that the name of 
the Book of Discipline became odious unto them. Every- 
thing that impugned to their corrupt affections was called 
in tfieir mockage * devout imaginations.' The cause we 
have declared : some were licentious ; some had greedily 
gripped to the possessions of the Kirk ; and others thought 
5iat they would not lack their part of Christ's coat, yea, and 
that before that ever He was hanged, as by the preachers 
they were oft rebuked. The chief great man that had 
professed Christ Jesus, and refused to subscribe the Book 

^ Knox, it 998. 


of Discipline, was the Lord Erskine ; and no wonder, for 
besides that he has a very Jezebel to his wife, if the poor, 
the schools, and the ministry of the Kirk had their own, 
his keching would lose two parts and more of that which 
he unjustly now possesses. Assuredly some of us have 
wondered how men that professes godliness, should of so 
long continuance hear the threatenings of God against 
thieves and against their houses, and knowing themselves 
guilty in such things as weire openly rebuked, and that 
they never had remorse of conscience, neither yet in- 
tended to restore anything of that which long they had 
stolen and reft There was none within the realm more 
unmerciful to the poor ministers than were they which had 
greatest rents of the churches." ^ 

The inspiring cause of this wrath was a matter, partly in- 
volved in the question of the Book of Discipline, which 
also came in a separate shape. It was an affair of the 
keenest temporal interest to both sections of the congrega- 
tion — the lay and the spiritual ; an interest not common, 
but antagonistic It was the weighty question of the funds 
on which the Reformed Church was to be supported. The 
Protestant clergy had no fixed source of income, though 
the Book of Discipline dealt with them as persons entitled 
to and obtaining a comfortable provision. There is, in- 
deed, a savour of practical sense and worldly wisdom in 
this portion of the original standards of the Presbyterian 
Church, which says much for the discernment and ability 
of its founders in matters of secular importance. After 
setting forth the appointments and supplies proper to a 
minister's house, in which are included " forty bolls meal 
and twenty-six bolls malt, to find his home-bread and drink," 
there is provision for the " education and up-setting of his 
sons, and for his daughters being virtuously brought up 
and honestly doted when they came to maturity of years." 
These requirements, the framers of the document protest, 
are not so much for their own sakes as for the increase of 
virtue and learning, and the profit of the posterity to come ; 
for " it is not to be supposed that any man will dedicate 

^ Knox, ii. 128, 129. 


himself and children so to God, and to serve His Kirk, that 
they look for no warldly commodity. But this cankered 
nature whilk we bear is provoked to follow virtue when it 
seeth honour and profit annexed to the same; as con- 
trarily, then, is virtue of many despised when virtuous and 
godly men live without honour. And sorry would we be 
that poverty should discourage men from study, and from 
following the way of virtue, by whilk they might edify the 
Kirk and flock of Christ Jesus." ^ 

The Assembly passed some acts or orders professing to 
exercise authority over the tithes or "spiritualities" of 
benefices, and charitably resolved " that all such as have 
been in the ministry of the Pope's Kirk, good and well- 
conditioned persons, that they shall live upon the alms of 
the Kirk with the number of the poor." As yet, however, 
they had not touched the temporalities. These yet re- 
mained with those Popish beneficiaries whose ecclesiastical 
functions were abolished by law ; but, in a great measure, 
the property was theirs only nominally. Many of the ec- 
clesiastical corporations, hopeless, apparently, of ultimate 
victory in the struggle, disposed of the property committed 
to them in long leases, mortgages, or absolute conveyances, 
under conditions which would not easily bear inspection 
in reference to the fairness of the transactions and the dis- 
interestedness of those who became parties to them. The 
lords and lairds who obtained legal claims over ecclesiasti- 
cal property by such arrangements were likely to hold their 
own with a much firmer gripe than the tottering ecclesiasti- 
cal foundations, and that was the reason why it was deemed 
politic to make arrangements with them. For a few years 
both before and after the eventful epoch of 1560, there 
was a continued process of absorbing ecclesiastical within 
temporal domains — or a continuous " birsing yont," as it 
has been expressively called — ^by the lay landholders. 

The transference was not effected without some pres- 
sure on the hopes and fears of the ecclesiastics who had 

^ Bake of Discipline,-— the Fifth Head, concerning the provision 
for the ministers, and for the distribution of the rents and possessions 
jostly appertaining to the Kirk. 


the power to make the desired arrangements, and even 
some violence to their persons. Of how this might come 
to pass, the method pursued by Gilbert, Earl of Cassilis, 
called in his own neighbourhood the " King of Carrick,* 
may be taken as an expressive example. We are told by 
the family historian that this Gilbert ** was ane particular 
man, and ane very greedy man, and cared not how he gat 
land, so that he could come by the same." He had his 
eye on a few of the estates of the Abbey of Glenluce, and 
had dealings with the abbot about them. That abbot, 
however, died before the writs were signed, " and then he 
dealt with ane monk of the same abbacy, wha could coun- 
terfeit the abbot's hand- writ and all the haill convent's, and 
gart him counterfeit their subscriptions." When this was 
done, fearing that the monk might make unpleasant revela- 
tions, he got a certain carl to ** stick " or stab him, and then 
he got one to accuse the carl of theft, " and hang him in 
Crosragall, and so the lands of Glenluce were conquest.'* ^ 
The next step was the " conqueshing " of the estates of 
the Abbey of Crossraguel, of which the extensive ruins 
may yet be seen. The domestic buildings of the fraternity 
have not here been so completely destroyed as in other 
places, probably because the " King of Carrick " preserved 
them for his own use. It was his desire that certain writs 
should be executed in his favour — to wit, " a five-year tack 
and a nineteen-year tack, and a charter of feu of all the 
lands of Crossraguel." The commendator of the abbey 
was unwilling to sign the writs, and shy of approach. He 
was waylaid, however, and brought face to face with the 
" king," who introduced him to a chamber where there was 
a roaring fire, prepared, as the host said savagely facetious, 
for roasting meat The commendator saw his fate at a 
glance, but held out till he was stripped or " skinned," as 
the narrator says, basted with grease, and scorched until 
his hand barely retained power to sign the deeds. The 

* History of the Kennedies, Bannatyne's Journal, 55. In Scot- 
land, the landed property which any one has acquired by purchase is 
distinguished from inheritance by the term *' conquest,'' in its modem 
acceptation sometimes considered descriptive of the method of 


Privy Council so far took notice of this affair as to require 
Cassilis to find security to the extent of ^£2000, not to 
molest the person or the property of the commendator.^ 
Men who had done such things to acquire lands were not 
likely to part with them without knowing why. 

The Protestant clergy, sagacious as they were about 
many things, seem to have made the mistake of supposing 
that the active energy with which their lay brethren helped 
them to pull down Popery was actually the fruit of reli- 
gious zeal, and to have expected that they took from the 
one Church merely to give to the other. The landhold- 
ers, on their part, thought such an expectation so utterly 
preposterous, that they did not condescend to reason with 
it ; but, without any hjrpocritical attempt to varnish their 
selfishness, called the expectations of the ministers "a 
fond imagination." 

There were, thus, three classes of claimants on the 
property of the Church — ^the old clergy, the laymen who 
had obtained rights from them, and the ministers of the 
Reformation. The Privy Council resolved to deal with 
this matter by a process which had the merit of simpli- 
city. They were to appropriate to the Crown the fourth, 
and if necessary, the third, of the ecclesiastical benefices 
for new uses ; it was found necessary to take the third, 
and the transaction is known in law and history as " the 
assumption of thirds of benefices." It was carried out 
by a series of Acts of Council, very secular in their tenor, 
and seeming as if they avoided the nomenclature of the 
Romish hierarchy on the one hand, and of Presbyterian 
perfection and supremacy on the other.^ The purposes 
to which these thirds were to be applied are thus set' 
forth : " Sae muckle thereof to be employed to the 
queen's majesty, for entertaining and setting forward of 
the common affiiirs of the country; and sae muckle 
thereof unto the ministers, and sustentation of the min- 
istry, as may reasonably sustain the same, at the sight 

* Douglas's Peerage, i. 332. 

* The most accurately printed copies of these Acts of the Cotmcil 
are in Mr Laing's edition of Knox 


and discretion ot the queen's majesty foresaid ; and the 
excrescence and surplus to be assigned unto the old pos- 
sessors." One department of ecclesiastical property was 
to be specially dealt with. The revenues drawn within 
towns by monastic establishments, whether in the shape 
of rents of property or in the more invidious form of 
local taxes or privileges, were specially designed for the 
entertaining of "schools and colleges,'* and other like 
uses ; and it was at the same time recommended that, as 
" nothing is more commodious " for such uses than the 
friaries and other edifices which had belonged to the mo- 
nastic bodies, such of them as had not been demolished 
should be kept up for these uses. 

When there was delay in giving in the valuation^ of 
the estates, stewards were sent down by the Council to 
estimate the " rentals." As these officers would be apt 
to affix a higher value to the estates than those in 
possession, the alternative had the effect of stimulating 
the preparation of the returns in the proper quarter. As 
a sort of sanction against the under -estimating of the 
rentals, the tenants on the ecclesiastical estates were 
authorised to hold the rents returned as the maximum 
which they were bound to pay ; for instance, if a farm 
were returned by the holder or owner as of so much 
" rental " or annual value, the tenant farming it was ac- 
quitted if he paid that amount of rent 

For all the precautions taken, however, it seems clear 
that the returns were imperfect and to a great extent 
false. Of the three parties interested, the ecclesiastics, 
unless Archbishop Hamilton be an exception, do not 
seem to have complained. Such a remnant of their 
possessions was a boon which the tenor of recent events 
had placed beyond their expectation ; and if something 
was taken from them, what remained was secured, so far 
as anything could be in that age, by an adjustment which 
professed to be final. The two-thirds of the fund unap- 
propriated were supposed to remain in the hands of the 
ecclesiastics of the old Church, on the principle of each 
retaining a vested life-interest in the greater part of his 
old income. As these died out, the benefices seem to 


have fallen to the Crown for miscellaneous disposal. But 
there is no doubt that a very large portion of these rev- 
enues had already, in the manner referred to, got into 
lay hands. It -might have been expected that these lay 
holders, who had come recently into possession, and held 
in many instances by questionable tenures, should have 
readily acquiesced in an arrangement which secured to 
many of them a lion's share in the two-thirds. But in the 
general case they seem to haVe thought the chance of 
keeping what they could with the strong hand a prefer- 
able alternative, and there was throughout the whole body 
much growling at the disgorgement they were called on to 

It was to the ministers, however, who were to be sus- 
tained out of the thirds, that the arrangement was least 
pleasing, since they had settled in their own minds that 
the sudden overturn of the Romish Church was virtually 
a transference of its wealth to their own body. They 
protested vehemently from their pulpits, Knox giving 
them the key-note, and saying, " Well, if the end of this 
ordour, pretended to be taken for the sustentation of the 
ministers, be happy, my judgment faileth me ; for I am 
assured the Spirit of God is not the author of it ; for first 
I see twa parts freely given to the devil, and the third 
maun be divided betwixt God and the devil. Weel, bear 
witness to me that this day I say it. Ere it be long the 
devil shall have three parts of the third, and judge ye 
then what God's portion shall be.*' A commission col- 
lected the money, and adjusted the claims on it To pay 
the ministers* stipends was the special function of the 
Laird of Pitarrow, "an earnest professor of Christ," 
whose conduct in the business was, however, such as to 
call forth the suggestive analogy, "Who would have 
thought that when Joseph ruled Eg3rpt, that his brethren 
should have travailed for victuals and have returned with 
empty sacks unto their families ? *' ^ 

The allowance made to the ministers varied from one 
hundred to three hundred merks a-year. The amount 

* Knox, ii. 310 


gave rise to a curious comparison, which shows how ex 
tremely poor many of the Scots aristocracy then were, 
and how considerable were the merely worldly aspira- 
tions of the Protestant clergy. It was said that there 
were many lords who had not so much to spend. Where- 
on it is remarked in Knox's History, where the justness 
of the comparison seems to be admitted, " Men did 
reason that the vocation of ministers craved of them 
books, quietness, study, and travail, to edify the Kirk of 
Jesus Christ ; and therefore that the stipends of ministers, 
who had none other industry but to live upon that which 
was appointed, ought not to be modified according to 
the livings of common men, who might and did daily 
augment their rents by some common industry." ^ So 
enormously rich had the Romish hierarchy become, that 
a mere fragment of their wealth — ^much less than a third 
— was sufficient to endow a ministry on terms bearing 
comparison with the incomes of the aristocracy. 

There were several political causes urging the queen's 
Government to moderation ; and in the person of her 
brother, the Lord James, who took the helm as if it natu- 
rally belonged to him, she had a pilot willing to take this 
course, and able to keep it with a strong hand.^ Eliza- 
beth sent her ambassador Throckmorton ostensibly to see 
to the fulfilment of the treaty of Edinburgh, but at the 
same time to keep his eye on many other things. The 
question of Mar/s right to succeed Elizabeth in the En- 
glish throne was opened, and though it was not conceded, 
neither was it denied. The settlement of this question 
was rather evaded than furthered, by a proposal that the 

^ Knox, ii. 3^2. 

* On the 1st of May Throckmorton wrote to Elizabeth from 
France, saying that it had been the intention of Queen Mary to 
give the Lord James a commission under her seal to administer the 
government until her arrival, but that it was not given. " The spe- 
cial cause why she has changed her opinion of Lord James, is be- 
cause she could not dissuade him from his devotion to the Queen 
of England, and the observation of the league between her and the 
realm of Scotland ; and also for that she and the Cardinal of Lorraine 
could not win him from his religion, wherein they used very great 
means and persuasions." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 91. 


two queens should meet each other in Queen Elizabeth's 
realm. In its undefined shape the suggestion was accepted 
by both. So far as the discussion about the meeting 
took a practical shape, it was held that Queen Mary must 
not travel to Windsor like a vassal to do homage ; for " her 
honour," as it was termed, her sister must come north- 
ward to the border to meet her. Then, that there might be 
no taint of a suspicion that treachery was intended, Queen 
Mary, if she found her sister affable, would pass southward 
with her, and enjoy the hospitality of the English Court. 
Mighty results were anticipated from the meeting, but 
vaguely, as the astrologers used to draw their inferences 
from planetary conjunctions. The accomplished French- 
bred queen might throw the spells of her fascination on 
her home-reared sister, but to what end ? On the other 
hand, unless it were that Queen Elizabeth could persuade 
Queen Mary to become a Protestant — and this, among the 
least possible of human achievements, was gravely antici- 
pated — ^no beneficial result could be reached through the 
process of cause and effect by those who discussed the 
scheme. Much eagerness was expressed by the two 
queens to see and caress each other, and the longings 
of Queen Mary for such a consummation were very elo- 
quent ; but in all this, too, there was a hollowness. The 
project was of the visionary kind that is easily dispelled 
by a practical difficulty, and such a difficulty appeared in 
the most sordid of shapes. Where was the money for a 
royal progress to be found ? In fact the project would 
impoverish Scotland, already poor enough. At that time 
the coinage of Scotland was in a state of transition. 
Its direction, in comparison with English money, was 
towards deterioration, and there was no fixed scale of 
equivalents for the immediate convertibility of the one 
currency into the other. A phenomenon often noticed by 
travellers in small separate Continental states at the present 
day was exemplified in Scotland, a desire to get rid of the 
native coin, and to get possession of the English. It was 
said of the Scots dealers in native produce, that instead of 
sending their goods to England, and getting remittances in 
the usual mercantile shape — which even then endeavoured 

44 QUEEN Mary* 

to settle accounts without the removal of bullion from place 
to place — ^they travelled to Berwick, sold their goods there, 
and carried the price home in English money. So great 
was the outcry against this that the practice was stopped 
by force ; and it was said on the side of Scotland that the 
rough-handed borderers who carried the regulation into 
effect, not only confiscated the English money found in 
the purses of the Scots, but even condescended to 
seize such poor items of beggarly Scots coinage as they 
possessed.^ The bearing of all this on a royal progress 

^ For such a charge there seems to have been better founda- 
tion than one might expect to find. In March 1562, the Coundl 
of Berwick address their queen to allay suspicions about the drain- 
age of English gold into Scotland. ** She having sigtified that 
merchants, habendashers, creel-men, pedlars, and foot-packers, con- 
tinually resort here and the adjoining marches, and for their wont 
carry away the fine moneys ; they assure her that they never knew so 
few of that faculty repair hither at this instant ; and such as do, are 
victuallers and sellers of linen cloth and other tlangs, which could not 
be spared by the people of this town. Also, that they stand bound 
with Englishmen not to carry away coin. To prevent them from 
purloining money from hence, the writers have appointed searchen 
to ransack them; and sometimes they find Enghsn moneys, which 
they take from them, and as much of the Scots coin as is found 
with the same for the greater terror." — Calendar of State Papers 
(Foreign), 557. Any one studying the currency equivalents of^the 
period would probably find assistance in a paper that had belonged 
to Cecil, and is endorsed by him as '* William Humphrie's opinion 
concerning Scottish money." The ** opinion " is a set of calculations 
of equivalents, in which the calculator found that ** the money of 
Scotland cannot be reduced into English money without the use of 
fractions of the penny, which is to be divided by 32." The estimate 
speaks of "the bawbee," or the "babie," current for 6d. Scots, 
showing the term to have been older than the babyhood of James the 
Sixth, given to it by tradition." The babie current for 6d. Scottish, 3 
oz. silver in the lb. troy, which contains 192 babies, each worth seven- 
teen-eighths of a penny. — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 50a 

The laws for keeping English gold at home were marked by the 
ferocitv of the English protective laws of that period. There is a 

fiathetic case of Thomas Sampson, an Englishman, who had been a 
inen-draper in Cheapside, but had fallen into poverty, and having 
carried a pike at the siege of Leith, remained there after the paci- 
fication. Between Leith and Berwick he ** trafficked in kind of 
merchandise in selling leather ;" being watched, he "was taken by 
two soldiers, with 23 lib. of new money, and one angel of gold, as he 
was passing without Berwick towards Leith." This is told by Sir 


into England was, that as the Scots money would not pass 
in England, the cost must be paid for in English cur- 
rency, and would probably draw out the whole of that 
precious commodity in the possession of Scotland. The 
weight of this impediment is enhanced by a suggestion oi 
Randolph's to remove it, by clearing accounts between 
the two coinages at Berwick.^ In the midst of a discus- 
sion on this difficulty, the project of a meeting and solemn 
conference between tiie Queen of England and the Queen 
of Scotland seems to have dropped.* 

The Guises, with a considerable Frencli following, still 
remained in Scotland; and they thought it wise, while 
the great question of the English succession stood in 
doubt, to help rather than interrupt the moderate coun- 
sels of the Lord James. This able man was gradually 
strengthening his hands. In 1562 he married the daugh- 
ter of the powerful Earl MarischaL The wedding was fol- 
lowed by a grand banquet, destined by its magnificence to 
provoke the cynical reproaches of Knox, who was ever 
doomed to find the world regaining possession of those 
whom he fondly believed that he had rescued from its 
influences. On this occasion Mary performed one of 
those graceful and effective courtesies for which she pos- 
sessed a gift. She drank to the health of Queen Elizabeth 
in a heavy golden cup, which she presented to Randolph 

Francis Leeke, the governor of the fortifications of Berwick, who 
informs the Privy Council that the money taken from Sampson had 
not been left with the soldiers who caught him, in terms of the pro- 
clamation. His suggestion is, that, *' if it seems good to the queen 
to extend her mercy to the poor man in favour of his life, yet he 
would wish for example's sake that the soldiers had the money." — 
Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), i6th October 1560. 

^ ** The greatest kmd of difficult is, that all kinds of gold that is 
current in England, is very scant here. The matter being considered, 
the Queen of England should send to Berwick so mu(£ treasure as 
they may have Scottish money there — only gold or testons of good 
silver — and have English money for the same. The Scottish money 
may serve to pay s^diers, workmen, or others. It is said to him 
that this will be the only stay of the journey." — Calendar of State 
Papers (Foreign), 1862, p. 631. 

' Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 1861-62, p. 4S8, 492, 5ii« 
538, S^Sy 571. 575» 606, 608 ; 1862, p. 144, 148. 


the ambassador.^ The Lord James was at the same time 
created Earl of Mar. He was known but for a short period 
by this title. It was claimed for the family of Erskine, 
and the Lord James became Earl of Moray, or, as it is 
generally termed, Murray, the title by which he is best 
known in history. 

He was immediately afterwards engaged in one of the 
many expeditions against the thieving borderers. Of this 
expedition, which must have been full of interest, we, have 
nothing but the results — fifty-three of the most noted out- 
laws apprehended, of whom eighteen were drowned for 
" lack of trees and halters," and six were hanged in Edin- 
burgh.^ There is no trace of these punishments to be 
found in the criminal records. By a sort of tacit under- 
standing, border thieves, like Highlanders, were not deemed 
within the pale of the law ; and the slaughter of them was 
a matter of interest solely as to its amount, as marking, 
like the head of game brought down in a day's sport, a 
successful or an unsuccessful raid. There are, however, 
several prosecutions for ** abiding from the raid of Jed- 
burgh," as it was called — ^that is to say, for not complying 
with the royal proclamation to join the expedition — a de- 
falcation which, in the instance of any border chief, was 
naturally deemed suspicious. From these trials it ap- 
pears that the raid lasted for twenty days, beginning on 
the 13th of November 1562.* 

1 P. F. Tytler, vi. 258. 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 149. 

' The excuse pleaded for absence was generally extreme ill-health. 
Ramsay of Dalhousie, for instance, protested that he was *' vexed 
with sic distress in his person that he might not ony ways travel, 
nother on horse nor foot, to na space, by reason his hail left side was 
so occapied and troubled with evil and malign humours, sic as he 
can nought declare nor specify — that his haill arms, fingers, and leg 
on that side, wherethrough that he might not move the same." — Pit- 
cairn, i. 421. 




HUNTLY'S fears from it — he arms — BATTLE OF CORRICHIE— 

We next follow the queen and Murray to a contest in the 
opposite end of the country, the cause and character of 
which can only be seen by going back a little way into 
the past We have found that the policy of the Crown m 
dealing with the old half-independent districts, inhabited 
chiefly by people of Celtic race, was to root out the 
power of their original local chiefs, and to encourage the 
predominance over them of some neighbouring family of 
rank and power. Thus, in the west, the house of Argyle 


governed ; in the north, that of Huntly. Even in such 
hands, however, the spirit of the old troublesome Maar- 
morate had a tendency to develop an independent prin- 
cipality. The family of Huntly possessed estates on the 
east coast, estates cultivated by the most industrious 
among the Lowland tenantry. From these they drew a 
goodly revenue. This enabled them to keep high court, 
and strengthen their rule over the vast Highland territory 
to the north and west ; for over all the district now beyond 
the Caledonian Canal and the lakes it unites, the " Cock 
of the North" was supreme in one shape or other. He 
kept princely state in his Castle of Strathbogie ; and events 
afterwards revealed that its sumptuous furnishings shamed 
those of the royal palace. He had the flourishing town 
of Aberdeen, with its university and cathedral, by way of 
capital. Here he seems to have had a small fleet, with 
which he kept up foreign communications, as little under 
restriction from the Court of Holyrood as those of the 
King of Norway or Denmark might be. The Earl of 
Huntly of that day was an accomplished man and a poli- 
tician. He frequented the Court of France, where he 
received the decoration of St Michael, and would pro- 
bably rank with the sovereign of any seco«\dary Ger- 
man or French state. What he might be doing in 
strengthening himself by alliances, or surrounding him- 
self by troops, was not easily to be discovered by those 
outside of his own dominions. The Government in 
Edinburgh could but guess at them, as our rulers in 
India might at the doings of some native prince who 
professes to hold by British protection in a distant in- 
accessible territory. He had been playing some deep 
game with the Lords of the Congregation. It seemed 
to them at one time that they had him, having bought 
him with a price — a large share in the ecclesiastical 
estates so profusely distributed. But there is little 
doubt that he determined to stand forth as leader in a 
great contest for the old faith, and had made arrange- 
ments accordingly, treating with the Guises, and organ- 
ising the people under his own banner. Murray, when 
his followers jostled those of Huntl/s ambassador in 


the village of Vitry, must have come to the knowledge 
chat Huntly had deep projects. Whether or not he 
knew exactly that an army of twenty thousand men 
had been offered to the queen, he knew enough to tell 
him that he^ must crush Huntly ere the power he yet 
held as head of the Congregation slipped from his 
grasp. Murray had further and personal motives for 
trying his strength with Huntly. The estates belonging 
to his own new earldom were in Huntl)r's hands, whether 
under any regular title or by mere occupancy, and 
would not be got for him who owned them under a 
crown charter, except by force. 

It was determined that the queen and Murray should 
make a royal progress northwards, and visit Huntly. Os- 
tensibly the Court was to do him honour ; but he had his 
own reasons for suspecting that something of another kind 
was in view. Matters at Strathbogie Castle were not in a 
condition to be inspected by eyes like Murray's. Inci- 
dentally we know that the vestments and treasures of the 
Cathedral of Aberdeen — the monuments of idolatry, as 
they would be called — ^were deposited in Huntly's strong- 
hold, that they might be restored to the Church in its day 
of triumph.^ These things might be hidden out of sight, 
to be sure ; but it would be impossible to obliterate all 
testimony that here were the headquarters of the enemy. 

An incident that seemed in itself of little moment con- 
nects itself with this affair. A quarrel which Huntly's 
son. Sir John Gordon, had with Ogilvy of Findlater, broke 
into a bloody conflict on the streets of Edinburgh. Gor- 
don was seized, and put in prison ; but the Scots prisons 
were ever notorious for their unretentiveness of prisoners 
of his rank. This Sir John, who was not the heir of 
Huntly, but only his fourth son, was among the countless 
lovers with whom Queen Mary's name is mixed up. The 
historian of the earldom of Sutherland says he was " a 
comely young gentleman, very personable, and of good 
expectation, whom she loved entirely.'* ^ 

* See Inventories of Queen Mary's Jewels, pref. xxv. p. 53. 

* Gordon's History of the Earl of Sutherland, 140. 


Soon after this affair, the queen with her brother took 
their royal progress northwards. They started in August 
1562. To have gone without a sufficient force, would 
have been a folly of which Murray was not likely to be 
guilty; and Huntly felt by no means satisfied with the 
form in which his sovereign approached him. Wisely 
keeping at a distance himself, he sent his wife, as a sort 
of ambassador and spy, to meet the queen at Aber- 
deen, and try to discover whether she came in peace 
or war. She was courteously invited to the earl's fort- 
ress-palace at Strathbogie. She declined, however, to 
countenance the house of Huntly while one of its mem- 
bers was a fugitive from justice, and demanded that 
Sir JoTin Gordon should " enter' himself in ward " again 
— that is, go baqk to prison. It appears that he went so 
far southward with the intention of doing so, but changed 
his mind. The royal party ran some risk. Murray, had 
he fallen into the hands of the Gordons, would not have 
been spared ; and they would have had little hesitation 
in keeping the queen herself in pledge for their lives 
and fortunes. It appears that when sojourning in the 
stronghold of the Leslies of Balquhain, of which a bat- 
tered tower still remains, about twenty miles from Aber- 
deen, the queen and Murray both made a narrow escape 
from seizure. They passed on to Inverness, where, de- 
siring admission to the casde, it was closed against them. 
This was all the more audacious an act^ that the castle 
was not a strength attached to Huntl/s own dominions ; 
it was nominally a royal castle, Huntly holding it as 
hereditary sheriflf of the district. A siege was begun. In 
this conflict with royalty, some of the clans which had 
submitted hitherto to the iron rule of Huntly found that 
they had an opportunity of deserting with the merit of 
loyalty. The Clan Chattan remembered how their chief 
had, a few years before, been beheaded before the gate 
of Strathbogie Castle ; and with the Frasers and Monros, 
they abandoned the banner of Huntly. The castle was 
taken, and the governor hanged. 

On returning, the queen's party were taught to expect 
an attack at lie crossing of the Spey. They passed it 
unassailed, but on the occasion the queen was in the full 


sense of the term exposed to the casualties of war, for it 
was not in the overwhelming strength of the royal force, 
but the large body that had passed over from Huntly to 
the queen, that her exemption from a battle lay; and 
Randolph had an opportunity in reporting the affair to 
Cecil, of moralising on the desperate blows that would 
have been given when all fought in the sight of so noble 
a queen and so many fair ladies.^ 

When the queen and Murray approached Aberdeen, 
Hundy, who seemed to think that his best chance of 
avoiding ruin was in war rather than submission, followed 
them, designing some bold stroke. There was a fight — 
sometimes called a battle — on the declivity of Corrichie, 
a long flat hill from fifteen to eighteen miles west of Aber- 
deen. Huntly's force, which had dwindled down, was 
easily defeated. The earl was found dead on the field — 
smothered, as it was said, in his armour. His body was 
brought to Edinbiurgh, that doom of forfeiture might be 
pronounced on it ; and there is extant the record of cer- 
tain payments to an adept for treating it with vinegar, 
aqua vitae, powders, odours, and other necessaries, to pre- 
vent it from putrifying.2 Sir John Gordon was convicted 
of treason, and beheaded at Aberdeen, where the queen 
attended his public execution. 

When Huntly was in the flush of power he found 
a convenient capital for his principality in Aberdeen, 
though it is not certain that he exercised his powers 
there with the full concurrence of the citizens. At all 
events, they gave their queen a loyal and hospitable 
reception. " She was honourably received with spec- 
tacles, plays, interludes, and other things as they could 
best devise." "They presented her with a cup of silver 
double gilt, with 500 crowns in it ; and wine, coals, and 
wax, as much as will serve her during her being here." * 

The power of the house of Huntly was thus broken, 
and the event, though in the ordinary phraseology of 
history it was but the suppression of a rebellion and 
the punishment of its leaders, was an' important national 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 319. 

' Laing^s Knox, ii. 359, note. 

' Randolph to Cecil, Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 319. 


revolurion. The breaking and dispersal of so great a 
fabric of power by a single day's events afforded to the 
Reformed clergy a great occasion for addressing their 
hearers on the vanity and uncertainty of human great- 
ness, and the punishment which in due time visits 
those who lift themselves up against eternal power. 
One of them — no doubt it was Knox himself — in point- 
ing, for the benefit of Mary's courtiers, the moral of 
the event, affords a curious personal sketch of the pub- 
lic deportment of the great earl : " Unto you do I say, 
that that same God who from the beginning has pun- 
ished the contempt of His word, and has poured forth 
His vengeance upon such proud mockers, shall not spare 
you, yea. He shall not spare you before the eyes of the 
same wicked generation, for the pleasure whereof ye de- 
spise all wholesome admonitions. Have ye not seen 
ane greater than any of you sit picking his nails, and pull 
down his bonnet over his eyes, when idolatry, witchcraft, 
murder, oppression, and such vices were rebuked ? Was 
not his common talk, * When the knaves have railed their 
fill, then they will hold their peace* ? Have ye not heard 
it affirmed in his own face, that God should revenge that 
his blasphemy even in the eyes of such as were witness to 
his iniquity ? There was the Earl Huntly accused by you 
as the maintainer of idolatry, and only hinderer of all 
good order. Him has God punished even according to 
the threatenings that his and your ears heard, and by your 
hands hath God executed His judgments. But what 
amendment in any case can be espied in you ? Idolatry 
was never in greater zest — ^virtue and virtuous men were 
never in more contempt — vice was never more bold, and 
less feared punishment. And yet who guides the queen 
and Court? Who but the Protestants? O horrible 
slanderers of God and of His holy evangel ! better it were 
unto you plainly to renounce Jesus Christ, than thus to 
expose His blessed evangel to mockage." ^ 

That the queen should have dealt so hardly with the 
champion of that faith to which she was ever devoted, and 
of which we shall find that she was working for the res- 

^ Knox, ii. 362. 

HER POLICY, 1562-63. S3 

toration, has been felt as one of the mysteries of history. 
She not only did what had to be done, but seemed to do 
it with heart and will. The solemn Randolph tells how, 
while the contest was yet undecided, and Huntly might 
intercept her at the Spey, "In all these garboils I assure 
you I never saw her merrier, never dismayed, nor never 
thought that so much to be in her that I find. She 
repented nothing; but — ^when the Lords and others at 
Inverness came in the morning from the watch — that she 
was not a man to know what life it was to lie all night in 
the fields, or to walk on the causeway with a jack and 
knapschalle, a Glasgow buckler, and a broadsword." ^ 

For solving the mystery of her conduct on this occasion, 
familiarity with the tenor of Scots, or even of English 
history, does not prepare us. In these we find many 
deeds of passion, and cruelty, and rapine — some pieces 
of perfidy too, such as the kidnapping projects of Henry 
VIII., or his daughter's barefaced mendacity. But all 
was something utterly different from the profound dis- 
simulation of that political school of which Catherine of 
Medici wa? the chief instructor, and her daughter-in-law 
an apt scholar. Covered over as the underworkings of 
wickedness were by a fair outside of art, literature, 
courtesy, gentleness, and loving-kindness, it was likened 
by the oft-used parallel of a fair country, with its mea- 
dows, gardens, and peaceful homes, covering volcanic 
fires that might any day break through it. To feel the 
spirit in which this young queen could assist in the 
ruin of her friend, we must realise the halls of the 
Louvre, with their splendid tapestries and statues, their 
perfumes and pet poodles, filled with an assemblage of 
gallant courtiers and gay ladies, full of wit and pleasan- 
try and courtly kindness, while Henry of Navarre, the 
gayest of all, his pleasant face beaming with jollity and 
careless good-humour, has yet all his faculties at their 
utmost tension to detect the first premonitions of murder ; 
or we irhist enter the chamber of the wounded Coligny, 
and find that vain headstrong youth who had tried to 
murder him, and was preparing to try again, pouring 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 1562, p. 304. 


meek condolence into the ear of the wounded man, and 
seducing him to the belief that his king held him in 
love and honour. 

Queen Mary was at this time in the hands of the Pro- 
testant party. She was utterly destitute of any power to 
control or resist them, and none knew that obdurate fact 
better than herself. If we suppose that she was an apt 
pupil of the political school she had been reared in, we 
see her throwing her lot into the Protestant party, and 
seeming to abide by it with a willing heart as if it were 
her duty, — and so it was, by the doctrine of the same 
school — ^the duty of waiting patiently for the day of retri- 
bution. All this is in harmony with the counsel said by 
a wise observer to have been given to her before she left 
France — to serve the time, to commode herself discreetly 
and gently with her subjects, and to cherish her brother.^ 
In the political correspondence of the day there may be 
traced an impression that she had become an apostate 
from her faith and policy. She was a woman alone in 
the midst of a Huguenot community, who with their old 
faith had deserted their old French alliance, and come 
under the influence of England, the stronghold of the new 
Church, and she had surrendered to conditions so over- 
whelming. How false such suppositions were we shall 
presently see ; but the form in which they are revealed 
will show that her policy would have been worthless had 
the gossips of the day known all she was doing. 

The year 1562 was a period of political sunshine to 
Randolph, the English resident We find him telling how 
he is treated with condescending kindness. On Twelfth 
day he was absent from Court, through infirmity, and the 
queen sent her physician to him. He tries to understand 
her nature, and finds it to be candid. She may be be- 
lieved in what she speaks and writes. In all her actions 
he sees the desire to propitiate his mistress, and follow 
her wise counsel. There is no danger from the inter- 
ference of Lennox ; she will not follow his advice, unless 

^ See the passage from Mdville's Memoirs dted in fhe preceding 

ttER POLICY, 1562-63. §5 

It concur with that of her sister queen. Of his son Dam- 
ley there have been whispers, as if he might become the 
husband of the queen ; but her objections to him are in- 
superable. It is rumoured that by the advice of her uncle 
the cardinal, she is likely to embrace " the religion of 
England ; " but Randolph has doubts of this. It is thought 
that there should be some Scotsman to represent her at 
the Court of England " for the better continuance of in- 
telligence " — some one to serve Queen Mary as he serves 
Queen Elizabeth. The person he suggests to Cecil for 
this duty comes with surprise on those who learn it with 
the light of later events. " There is with the queen one 
called Mr George Buchanan, a Scottish man, very well 
learned, who was schoolmaster to M. De Busac^s son, very 
godly and honest, whom I have always judged fitter than 
any other I know." ^ Buchanan might then have been in 
the ascendant at the Scots Court ; and it must have taken 
all the mixed stoicism and cynicism of his nature to avoid 
thq destiny of the courtier. It is one of the accidental de- 
tails of Randolph's budget of news about the queen, that 
"she readeth daily after her dinner, instructed by a 
learned man, Mr George Buchanan, somewhat of Livy." ^ 
It would be difficult to find in history a closer resem- 
blance than the early government of Mary bore to a strong 
arid deep-rooted moderate policy, holding in check the 
factious extremes of either side. The country had become 
Protestant, and the members of the Government were 
Protestants ; yet they desired to protect the queen herself 
in the exercise of her religion, and broke with the extreme 
clerical party, which owned Knox as its head. Challoner, 
the English resident at Madrid, noted that King Philip and 
the Spanish Court were suspicious and angry about the 
supineness of Queen Mary, and her toleration of the here- 
tics who infested her realm.^ Perhaps Philip himself 
knew better, since his minister, Granvelle, was deep 
in Queen Mary's secrets. He had, however, a placid 
gift of fatalism that preserved him from serious alarm 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 30th Jan. 1562, p. 513, 576. 

• Ibid., 584 » Ibid., 1561-62, 562. 



when the Church and the divine right of sovereigns 

seemed in danger. There is a serene grandeur about his 
designs, even when we remember the wreck of the great- 
est of them. In Scotland the course before him was 
simple. When he had settled his difficulties with the 
Turk, he was to suppress heresy in Queen Maiy's king- 
dom ; and this duty mixed itself up with his matrimonial 
projects for himself and his son. He had not long to wait 
for symptoms that Queen Mary was no apostate. The 
elements of the political condition of the country, even 
without reference to subsequent events, are sufficient to 
show that the short peace was but an armed truce, in 
which each party was prepared to fly at its opponent's 
throat, " There is," says the English resident, " thrice in 
the week an ordinary sermon in the Earl of Murray's lodg- 
ing in the queen's house, so near to the mass, that two 
so mortal enemies cannot be nearer joined without some 
deadly blow being either on the one side or the other." ^ 
It was the reproach of both, though pleaded by each in 
extenuation of its deeds, that the one could not permit 
the other to live without danger to its own existence. 

Protestantism, nominally supreme, asserted its dignity 
in judicial proceedings against some adherents of the old 
religion. On the 17th of March 1562, Sir James Arthur, 
a priest, was prosecuted for solemnising baptisms and mar- 
riages " in the old abominable Papist manner." He came 
to the queen's will — that is to say, submitted to her 
mercy, and probably went unpunished.* 

In spite of the lowering of the political atmosphere, 
and some actual storms, the first two years of Mary's 
reign were passed by her in a gaiety and geniality sadly 
in contrast with the gloomy remainder of her days. She 
possessed a strong elasticity of spirit, and, after the first 
shock was over, set herself to draw as much enjo)mient as 
could be extracted from the humble resources now at 
her disposal. It was no longer as in France, where a Court 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 505. 

* Pitcaim, i. 420*. It is curious that the record of his trial bears, 
that an extract of it was sent to the regent in 1569. as if he might 
then make some use of »K 

THE COURT, 1562. 57 

party, roving on some sudden impulse to the distant bank 
of a stream, or the centre of a wood, found there all the 
luxuries of the palace laid at their feet by an expert and 
costly comissariat. Yet she was not to be imprisoned in a 
palace, and forfeit all the enjoyments of a free foot. The 
English ambassador Randolph, in his minute reports, details 
some little scenes of innocent gaiety, which it would be 
refreshing to meet with among the partly arid and partly 
appalling events he has to record, if the reader could feel 
any assurance that they were the outward symbol of an 
innocent and guileless heart. She went, for instance, 
with a few attendants to the house of a burgess in St 
Andrews. There Randolph followed her, and waited for 
three days in devouring impatience for an audience. When 
he could hold out no longer, and pressed through the 
light fence which royal raillery had set between them, she 
said, " I see now well that you are weary of this company 
and treatment. I wish for you to be merry, and to see 
how like a burgess's wife I live with my little troop ; and 
you will interrupt the pastimes with your great and grave 
matters. I pray you, sir, if you be weary here, return 
home to Edinburgh, and keep your gravity and great am^ 
bassade until the queen come thither ; for, I assure you, 
you shall not see her here — ^nor I know not myself where 
she is become." ^ 

Knox admitted that " in presence of her Council she 
kept herself very grave," but maintained that the scene 
was changed when business and ceremony were over ; and 
"how soon soever the French fillocks, fiddlers, and others 
of that band gat the house alone, then might be seen 
skipping not very comely for honest women." In weigh- 
ing the fill! merit of these old denunciations of the innocent 
amusement of dancing, it must be remembered that in 
that age the dance had often a meaning beyond the mere 
graceful cadenced*e;Kercise. The forms of the dance were 
often symbolical of** interesting situations; and of how 
far these were delicate or decorous, we may judge by the 
books^ such as those of Brantome and Margaret of Nar 

* Raumer, Contributions, 26. 


varre, which were the favourite literature of the dancers. 
Knox lifts his testimony against the dance "called the 
purpose," which the queen trod with Chatelar ; and it is 
easy to believe it to have been sufficiently indecorous. 
' In fact, the Puritans from that day having taken a loath- 
ing towards dancing such as they saw it, shut their eyes 
to it for the coming ages; and thus, to the amaze- 
ment and ridicule of later times, blindly continued 
their old railing against it long after it had been puri- 
fied of its indecorums. The wrath of Knox on this 
particular was raised to its climax by a suspicion that the 
queen made her dancing an active expression of her 
heterodoxy and malignancy ; " and among others, he was 
assured that the queen had danced excessively till after 
midnight, because that she had received letters that per- 
secution was begun in France, and that her uncles were 
beginning to stir their tail, and to trouble the whole realm 
of France." On this text he preached a stirring sermon, 
which brought about one of his renowned interviews with 
the queen. After having given her his mind with his 
usual freedom and emphasis about her uncles, he con- 
cluded by explaining to her that he was a public function- 
ary doing his public duty, from which he was not to be 
drawn to waste his valuable time in dialogues with indi- 
vidual persons, unless in cases of urgency, "If your 
grace," he said, " please to frequent the public sermons, 
then doubt I not but ye shall fully understand both what 
1 like and mislike, as well in your majesty as all others." 
He had no objection to her solemnly setting apart an oc- 
casion for his publicly expounding in her presence " the 
form and substance of doctrine which is proposed in 
public to the subjects of this realm " — a suggestion to- 
wards which the queen kept silence, probably not without 
a shudder. "But to wait," he continued, "upon your 
chalmer door or elsewhere, and then to have no farther 
liberty but to whisper my mind in your grace's ear, or to 
tell to you what others think and speak of you — neither 
will my conscience nor the vocation to which God hath 
called me suffer it." He was pleased to depart from this 
interview with " a reasonable merry countenance ; " and 


when he heard it remarked of bystanders that he was not 
afraid, he made the genial remark often quoted, " Why 
should the pleasing face of a gentlewoman afl&uy me ? I 
have looked on the faces of many angry men, and yet 
have not been affrayed above measure." 

A question will naturally arise, Were these dialogues 
held in the language in which Knox reports them? 
Singularly enough, among the many personal details about 
Queen Mary, none informs us distinctly of the extent to 
which she could understand or use the language of her 
people. It is not likely that she could speak it fluently on 
her arrival in Scotland, but we hear nothing of progress 
made in acquiring it ; and in the various dialogues in 
which her sapngs are reported — even in these sharp trials 
of wit and language with Knox — ^no instance occurs to us 
in which she appears, or is said to have been, at a loss for 
a proper expression. When Knox reports the sayings of 
her mother, they are generally in an imperfect or broken 
Scots vernacular, as the instances cited in previous chap- 
ters have shown. It is clear that her daughter was, while 
in Scotland, extremely chary of writing in any other lan- 
guage but the French. Running the eye over LabanofFs 
collection, it will be noticed that a letter taken from an 
autograph is invariably French. It must be inferred from 
this that the letters in the vernacular are not only in the 
handwriting, but in a great measure the composition, of 
a secretary. Sometimes to such a letter there is a post- 
script autograph and in French. The earliest specimen 
preserved in her autograph in the vernacular seems to be 
a postscript of a letter to the Earl of Argyle, of 31st March 
1566, in these terms : " Wat ever bis sayed, bi sur off my 
gud mynd, and that ye sal persa3rve, command my to our 
bruder."^ We shall afterwards find her taking lessons in 
English from her keeper Sir Francis KnoUys, and writing 
to him what she called her first letter in that language. It 
must be inferred that her habitual language was French ; 
and if we are to take from her the merit of disputing with 
Knox in the language which he learned when a boy in East 

^ Labanoff, i. 340. 


Lothian, we must concede to him the accomplishment ol 
speaking French so well that he did not fear an encounter 
in that language with a very clever woman, mistress of 
every art for enhancing her native qualities which the high- 
est courtly training in the world could bestow. But, in- 
deed, Knox had his own training to the task, for he had 
lived and preached in France. 

The prosecution of a considerable body of recusants in 
1563 was preceded by some discussions of a highly sug- 
gestive kind. Of course, in a country so little under con- 
trol, the old religion was privately observed wherever the 
l)redominant feudal power of the district gave it any coun- 
tenance. In the north, though the power of Huntly was 
broken, there cannot be a doubt that the bulk of the 
people, in as far as they were Christians, were Romanists ; 
but they were too remote from the eye of justice to be 
prosecuted, or even watched. In the western districts 
south of the Clyde the territorial influence was so far di- 
vided that in some places the Romanists were enabled to 
resume their worship and observances, but not without 
risk from the vengeance of their Protestant neighbours. 
These were sternly urged by the clergy to put in force 
those laws against Popery which the Government were 
neglecting. The brethren "determined to put to their 
own hands," and " that they should neither complain to 
queen nor Council, but should execute the punishment 
that God has appointed to idolaters in His law, by such 
means as they might, wherever they should be appre- 
hended.'*^ The work was begun, and some seizures had 
been made, when the queen, who was at Lochleven, de- 
sired to have a conference with Knox. He went, and 
the dialogue is given with the usual emphasis in his His- 
tory. The question why the royal prerogative was usurped 
by subjects was at once met by conclusive reasons and 
apt cases in point. " The sword of justice, madam, is 
God's, and is given to princes and rulers for one end, 
which if they transgress, sparing the wicked and oppress- 
ing innocents, they that, in the fear of God, execute 

^ Knox, ii. 371. 

THE TWO CHURCHES, 1562-63. 61 

judgments when God has commanded, offend not God. 
Although kings do it not, neither yet sin they that bridle 
kings to strike innocent men in their rage. The examples 
are evident ; for Samuel feared not to slay Agag, the fat 
and delicate King of Amalek, whom King Saul had saved; 
neither spared Elijah Jezebel's fajse prophets and Baal's 
priests, albeit that King Ahab was present ; Phinehas was 
na magistrate, and yet feared he not to strike Cozbi and 
Zimri," — supplying, in the plainest words, the ^statement 
of their guilty conduct, which the terms of Scripture leave 
to be inferred.^ The queen, of course, was not prepared 
to admit the soundness of the principles so explained and 
exemplified ; and " she, being somewhat offended, passed 
to her supper.'* Knox, sullen and resentful, determined to 
return next morning to Edinburgh ; but before the early 
May sunrise, messengers from the queen desired him to stay. 
They had an interview, in which, judging from the only 
account of it — that of her antagonist — 3ie queen showed 
consummate tact She was "at the hawking," so she 
chose her own battle-field suited to her light weapons and 
restless strategy. The traces of last night's anger were 
totally obliterated — ^all was simshine, gaiety, and good- 
humour. The talk skipped lightiy from topic to topic at 
the queen's guidance until she could get it settled down 
on some topic on which her formidable companion could be 
kept interested. There was the offering of a ring to her by 
Lord Ruthven — he was one of her Council ; but she could 
not love him, for she knew him to use enchantment. This 
failed to excite much interest She next referred to Knox's 
own movements. He was going to Dumfries to act in the 
appointment of a superintendent of the Church there? 
"Yes, those quarters have great need, and some of the 
gentiemen so require." She then brings up the claims of 
the favoured candidate, Alexander Gordon, titular Arch- 
bishop of Athens, a son of the Master of Huntly, who 
held high preferment in the hierarchy, and having turned 
Protestant, desired to serve the new Church, and keep the 
emoluments he had firom the old. She warned Knox 

^ See Numbers, chap. xxv. 


against him, sa)ring, " Do you as you will, but that man 
is a dangerous man;" and, oddly enough, Knox shows 
in his narrative that he afterwards found this to have been a 
sound warning. Still the queen, passing lightly from topic 
to topic, had found nothing to interest and enchain her 
formidable gossip ; but she hit on it at last, by soliciting 
his services in restoring the heads of a great family to the 
observance of domestic duties and moralities. The Earl 
of Argyle had been married in 1554 to the Lady Jane 
Stewart. The queen, telling Knox that she must have 
his help in one of the gravest matters that had touched 
her since she came to the kingdom, threw herself with 
amiable simplicity on his friendly and confidential assist- 
ance, explaining that this sister of hers had not been so 
circumspect in all things as should be desired ; " and yet," 
said she, " my lord, her husband, whom I love, entreats her 
not in many things so honestly and so godly as yourself 
would require." 

The function of mediator, or rather of dispenser of dis- 
cipline in such a matter, was one thoroughly to Knox's own 
heart. His colloquy with the queen became cordial and 
earnest ; and he fell immediately to his congenial task, by 
writing to the earl a letter, setting forth the domestic 
duties which he had hitherto neglected, and was now 
called on to perform, with as much peremptory distinct- 
ness as it is possible to suppose any like injunction to 
have been given privily from the confessional. The letter 
is printed in his History. In the mean time, Knox having 
become interested in the task before him, the queen seized 
the favourable moment to get through, briefly and without 
cross-questioning, with the disagreeable business of their 
original meeting — the prosecution of the officiating Ro- 
manist ecclesiastics. " * And now,' said she, * as touching 
our reasoning yesternight, I promise to do as ye required. 
I shall cause summon all offenders, and ye shall know 
that I shall minister justice.* * I am assured then,' said 
he, ' that ye shall please God, and enjoy rest and tran- 
quillity within your realm, which to your majesty is more 
profitable than all the Pope's power can be,' and thus they 
departed." So is the conclusion of the interview set forth 

THE TWO CHURCHES, 1562-63. 63 

in Knox's History. His account of it reads like a true 
account of the part of the dialogue which it contains, and 
at the same time does not look as if it suppressed any 
important part What afterwards passed through his mind 
about the whole afifair, when he put it in writing, seems to 
be noted in the following words, with which, referring to 
the sayings of the day before, he begins the narrative of 
the second day's conference : " Whether it was the night's 
sleep, or a deep dissimulation locked in her breast, that 
made her to forget her former anger, wise men may doubt 
— ^but thereof she never moved word." ^ 

It must be held as the consequence of her promise, that, 
on the 19th of May 1563, no fewer than forty-eight per- 
sons, some of them eminent Romish ecclesiastics, were 
indicted for celebrating mass and endeavouring to restore 
Popery in Paisley and Ayrshire. They were charged with 
collecting tumultuous assemblies — in one instance, of two 
hundred people. The law which they were accused of 
transgressing was that dubious proclamation by the queen, 
requiring that no one should innovate on the state of re- 
ligion as she found it publicly and universally standing on 
her arrival in Scotland ; and the accused were said to have 
transgressed this injunction by " ministering and abusing, 
irreverently and indecently, the sacraments of haly Kirk — 
namely, the sacraments of the body and blood of our 
Lord Jesus — otherwise and after ane other order than the 
public and general order of this realm was, the time of the 
queen's majesty's arrival foresaid." Auricular confession 
was another form of transgression taken at Paisley in the 
" kirk, toun, kirkyard, chambers, bams, middens, and kil- 
logics thereof" ^ The charge of officiating in " middens " 
or dunghills, and in killogies or kilns, which gives a ludi- 
crous tinge to the proceedings, shows in harmony with the 
tenor of the correspondence of the period, that these re- 
cusants courted secrecy. Several of the accused were 
sentenced to be " put in ward " within the royal fortresses 
during the queen's pleasure. There was one man, by his 
station and history, prominent among these offenders 

* Knox, ii. 373. * Pitcaim, i. 428,* 429^ 


so prominent, indeed, that the prosecution may in some 
measure be considered a trial of his strength. This was 
John Hamilton, Archbishop of St Andrews, the illegiti- 
mate brother of the head of the house of Hamilton. He 
had become hateful to the Protestants by the martyrdom 
of Walter MilL At the same time there were reasons 
why neither the Romish party nor the queen's personal 
friends should then be strongly inclined to back him. 
Restless, fierce, and ambitious, if he had shown devotion 
to his Church, he had shown still more devotion to his 
own interest, and was believed to be working for a com- 
promise between the two extreme parties, in which there 
would be enough of Protestantism to satisfy the lay Re- 
formers, and enough of Popery to preserve for him his 
high dignities and emoluments ; so that his deficiency in 
zeal may even have contributed to his sufferings. At the 
same time he was the leading spirit of the dubious policy 
of the Hamiltons, and had fought the battle of Arran the 
regent against the queen's mother. In Knox's History it 
is told with great glee how the bishop, hesitating to appear 
as a criminal in the Earl of Argyle's court, was at last 
" compelled to enter within the bar ; " and how " a merry 
man, who now sleeps in the sod, Robert Norwell, instead 
of the bishop's cross, bare before him a steel hammer." ^ 

But the most instructive consideration in connection 
with these prosecutions is that, while they were carried on 
in the queen's name, she was resolutely bent on the res- 
toration of the old religion. It is unnecessary, in confir- 
mation of this, to found solely on that steady unshrink- 
ing adherence to her own faith, which must ever stand 
forth as the noblest, if not the sole redeeming feature of 
her character. That while she was yet Queen of France 
she should reciprocate with the Court of Rome the cour- 
tesies appropriate to her sovereign rank in a country 
devoted to the Popedom, was but natural, and it was not 
to be expected that Scotland should be specifically ex- 
cepted from them. So an embassy from the King and 
Queen of France and Scotland, sent on their accession on 

^ Knox, ii. 38a 


a mission of duty and spiritual obedience to Pius IV., re- 
ceived in return his blessing, and the promise of his pa- 
ternal good offices for both their realms.^ 

About half-way between the day of her husband's death 
and that of her return to Scotland, she had received the 
traditionary S3rmbolical blessing of the Pope in the shape 
of the golden rose, accompanied by a benedictory epistle, 
with allusion to herself as a fair rose among thorns — a 
possible allusion to the rumours that may have reached 
the Court of Rome about affairs in Scotland.^ 

On her return to Scotland this intercourse seemed to 
come to an abrupt close, but the industry of recent in- 
vestigators has revealed it as continued with subtle dex- 
terity, and in condition for open diplomatic service when 
the reaction eagerly expected on the one side and 
dreaded on the other should restore the papal ascendancy. 
Fragments of correspondence show that, while nominally 
prosecuting Papists at home, she held close communica- 
tion with the great leaders of the Romish party abroad, 
and even with the Pope himself. In January 1563, she 
wrote to Pope Pius IV., expressing her devotion to the 
Church, and her readiness to sacrifice for it her life. She 
mourns over the new opinions and damnable errors 
which she found prevalent on her return to her kingdom, 
and regrets that this will defeat a design she would other- 
wise fain have carried out — to send certain prelates to 
represent Scotland in the Council of Trent. She writes at 
the same time to her uncle the cardinal, going over the 
same topics more fiilly and earnestly, announcing her de- 
sire to restore the Catholic faith in her dominions, though 
at the peril of her life, and declaring that she will rather 
die than change her faith and give encouragement to 
heresy. The bearer of these dangerous communication 
was that Cardinal Granvelle who was conspicuous even 

* Statuta Ecclesiae Scot. Pref., 165. 

' Quae tanquam rosa pulcherrima inter spinas snavissimum fidei et 
bonoram opemm tuoram, odorem longe lateque difiiindis ibid. The 
Papal Rose is inventoried among the jewels brought by its owner from 
France, but nothing further is known about it. — Inventaires de la Royne 
Descosse, p. 17. 



among the relentless Spaniards for his zeal in the forcible 
suppression of heresy.^ 

In the midsummer of 1562, there were rumours and sus- 
picions about the arrival in Scotland of a shadowy figure, 
whose presence was all the more mysterious that he was 
seen by no one, unless he was identified by Randolph, who, 
standing beside Lethington saw so " strange a visage '' that 
he supposed it must be the mysterious stranger's. The 
rumours said he was a Jesuit and a legate of the Pope — that 
he had landed at Dundee — that he passed on, secretly re- 
maining in hiding in one place of refuge after another owned 
by friends of his cause. He was conveyed at last to the 
queen, and held a secret conference with her, almost in- 
terrupted by the Earl of Mar. The most distinct thing 
that Randolph can retail to his mistress about this visionary 
affair is the opinion of Lethington, that the stranger came 
to urge the queen to send a representative to the Council 
of Trent, but that his mission would be in vain.^ 

We have traces far more distinct of Queen Mary's con- 
tinued devotion to her Church, and of her capacity of 
communicating, undetected at home, with its hierarchy 
abroad. The Council of Trent, when it reassembled in 
1563, received from her a letter announcing her deep 
regret at her inability to send prelates of her realm to 
represent it in the Council Not only did the troubles 
of the time render such a mission impossible, but any 
attempt in that direction would be dangerous; and this was 
all the greater a grief to her that she remained among the 
most devoted of the daughters of the Catholic Church. 
She referred the Council to her illustrious uncle the Car- 

^ LAbano£^ t. 175 etsea. The letters are translated copies, but there 
is no reason to doubt tneir genumeness. In the pages immediately 
following, repeated references will be found to the Concilia Scotise 
or Statuta Ecdesia? Scoticanae, edited by Dr Joseph Robertson. 
Whoever desires to enter critically into the question how far the 
tenor of the correspondence here attributed to Queen Mary is sup- 
ported by evidence, will find there all the information he can 
desire. dvX in truth Queen Mary's entire devotion to her Church 
is so steadily distinct through her whole history as to leave neither 
excuse nor temptation for resting it on narrow testimony. 

* Calendai of State Papers (Foreign), 131, 147, 199. 


dinal of Lorraine, who knew all about her affairs, and 
would be virtually her representative. The Council held 
a special congregation on this letter, and the minute of 
its purport attributes the troubles in Scotland to the 
Huguenots. The Cardinal of Lorraine addressed the assem- 
blage, enlarging on his niece's zeal for the cause, and the 
difficulties and danger of her position, and expressing a hope 
that some one of the Scots prelates then refugees in 
France might attend the Council. It must be inferred that 
this part of the transactions of the great Council had been 
kept a dead secret from the governing party in Scotland.^ 
Ere the Council had broken up, Chisholm, the Bishop 
of Dunblane, was received at the Vatican, on a mission 
from the queen to explain the condition of Scotland. He 
named as still among the faithfid the Earls of Lennox, 
Athole, Huntly, Montrose, Eglinton, Cassilis, Errol, and 
Caithness, with some others. To each of those on the 
bishop's list the Pope wrote a special letter of exhortation.^ 
He sent to Queen Mary the acts of the Council, and she 
in return addressed to him a letter full of devotion and 
zeal, not in the formal Latin in which she addressed the 
Council, but in her own familiar French.* Two other in- 
cidents may be here anticipated in the order of time, that 
their significance may be interpreted along with all that 
the queen had to say and to do for Protestantism at the 
dictation of the ruling party. With great secrecy a papal 
dispensation was obtained for her marriage with Damley, 
granted, as the Pope announced, on their assurance that 
5iey would both help to the utmost of their power the old 
religion. The Bishop of Dunblane again is found on a 
mission to Rome— called his third — ^imploring the Pope 
for aid to the queen in bringing her realm to order — a 

^ Epistola Marise Scotorum Reginse, Francise Dotarise, ad Sacro- 
fimctam Synodum Tridentinam. Congr^;atio Generalis, Sacrosancti 
Concilii Tridentini, habita pro litteris Mariae Scotoram Reginae, 
Franciae Dotariae, ad idem Sacrosanctum concilium legendis X Maii 
MDLXIIl. — Robertson, Statuta Ecclesiae Scoticanae, 249. 

* Ibid., Pre£&ce^ 168, 169. 

' Labanoff, vii. 6, where it is marked Autographe, Biblioth^uc 
Barbenni, 20th October 1564. 


thing still not beyond hope. Pius V. wrote to her a bene- 
dictory letter, apologising, with more politeness than sin- 
cerity we must suppose, for his inabili^, through the infir- 
mities of age, to cross the Alps and the sea for her relie£ 
He sent the Bishop of Mondovi to represent him with an 
offering of twenty thousand crowns. The bishop reached 
Paris, whence he wrote to the queen for instructions as 
to the fulfilment of his mission. But this was in 1567, 
when, as we shall see, evil days had fallen on Mary. The 
nuncio did not reach Scotland, and appears to have taken 
the money intrusted to him back to Rome.^ 

In going back to the course of the narrative, with such 
testimony to her thoughts and intentions, we must hence- 
forth view Knox and the queen as engaged in a contest, 
each for the extermination of the other. He also had 
his correspondents on the Continent, and he seems to 
have found some traces of her secret communications 
with France, Spain, and the Coiut of Rome. For all the 
skill with which she had represented herself as a simple 
unprejudiced person seeking knowledge and open to 
conviction, his sagacity early revealed to him that she 
was an assured unwavering champion of the old faith. 
So early as October 1561, he said, writing to Cecil, "The 
queen neither is, neither shall be, of our opinion ; and 
in very deed her whole proceedings do declare that 
the cardinal's lessons are so deeply printed in her heart, 
that the substance and the quality are alike to perish 
together. I would be glad to be deceived, but I fear I 
shall not"* 

But the state of the Continent at that time required 
that the queen should keep her policy profoundly hidden 
in her bosom. She had just witnessed, before she left 
Paris, the reaction against the Guises, and the formidable 
combination of the Huguenot princes. Catherine of 
Medici, not having that assured faith which belonged to 
her daughter-in-law, held herself in grim reserve, watching 
the contest, and determined not to commit herself until 
she saw which side should develop the elements of decided 

^ Statnta, ftc, Preface, 168-171. * Quoted, M'Crie, 183. 

koMlSH REACTION, 1563. 69 

superiority. She made herself courteous to the Huguenot 
preachers, and held colloquies with them like those of 
Queen Mary and Knox. Then followed the celebrated 
edict of January 1562, and the establishment of the Hu- 
guenots in many of the strongest towns in France, where 
idolatry was forthwith suppressed as in Scotland, the reli- 
gious recluses driven out of their monasteries, and the 
churches defaced of their sculpture and decorations. It 
was, no doubt, with secret joy and pride that Mary watched 
how, step by step, her illustrious unde consolidated the 
fragments of the Catholic party, and, after gaining the 
victory of Dreux, was wrenching from the Huguenots 
their chief stronghold — Orleans ; but all hopes thus ex- 
cited were doomed to sudden and bitter disappointment, 
by the news that he had been assassinated by a Huguenot 
fanatic. He fell on the i8th of August 1563. That was 
undoubtedly no time for his niece to try the strength of 
the Catholic cause in Scotland. But in fact it continued 
from that epoch rapidly to advance in France, with the 
Guises still at its head. And as it achieved predominance, 
so we shall find, at humble distance, its champion in Scot 
land warily stirring herself from the prostrate condition 
she had found it necessary to accept on her first coming, 
and arming herself for a conflict which, to all human ap- 
pearance, was likely seriously to endanger, if not to over- 
whelm, the cause of the Reformation in Scotland, if not 
in England too. The concurrence was noticed by Knox 
in his own peculiar fashion, in the passage already cited, 
in which he represented the queen as inaugurating the 
rise of persecution in France by excessive indulgence in 
the offensive exercise of dancing. 

Among the elements of power which she brought into 
this contest, what she possessed in her own person and 
personal qualities must not be overlooked Scarce ever a 
sovereign entered upon rule with so many attributes of 
popularity. The blood of an ancient and beloved line of 
monarchs ran in her veins. She was the descendant of 
the heroic Bruce, the liberator of the land. With this 
illustrious blood she united* that of the diivalrous house 
of Ix>naine, with whose deeds Europe was ringing. She 


hereelf, by her marvellous beauty, her accomplishments, 
and her wit, had even widened the renown of her country, 
known as it was so well over Christendom. She dazzled 
the commonalty with new court glories to which sombre 
Scotland was unaccustomed ; and her regal pageants were 
no mere chaotic displays of profuse barbaric splendour, 
but were brought under the rule of a thoroughly refined 
taste. The splendours of her Court were not invidious to 
the people, since they came not from the national ex- 
chequer, but were decorated by the jewellery and supplied 
from the dowry of a queen-dowager of France. The old 
warlike and chivalrous feeling of the people found more 
to stir it in this delicate woman than in many a hero. She 
had often shown her beautiful face under the helmet, 
mounted on her charger at the head of her troops. In 
more peacefiil days, the peasantry of the borders and the 
Highlands were familiar with the airy form sweeping past 
on a milk-white steed, at the stag-hunt or the hawlang, 
followed by all the chivalry of her Court. Such scenes 
were not confined to the exclusive precincts of parks or 
royal forests ; they were not secluded from a suspected 
population by a jealous retinue of guards. They were 
seen by her people at large ; and there were few comers 
of the land so remote but some were there who could tell 
of having seen them. Hence the queen naturally, from 
year to year, acquired a strength in her own popularity, 
which must have weighed formidably against her oppo- 
nents, and might have served her in good stead had it not 
been her fate to do things against which no popularity 
could stand. 

There was in the mean time such reaction as chafed the 
impetuous spirit of Knox, and drew forth he following 
expressive notice in his History : " While that the Papists 
were so confounded that none within the realm durst more 
avow the hearing or saying of mass than the thieves of 
Liddesdale durst avow their stealth in presence of an up- 
right judge, there were Protestants found there ashamed 
not, at tables and other places, to ask, * Why may not the 
queen have her own mass and the form of her religion ? 
What can that hurt us or our religion? ' And from these 


two — ^why ? and what ? — at length sprang out this affirma- 
tive, ' The queen's mass and her priests will we maintain ; 
this hand and this rapier shall fight in their defence/ &c." * 

If Knox and his friends had found reason for genu- 
ine satisfaction in the prosecution of Hamilton and the 
western Papists, it did not last many days. A Parliament 
was called, from which they expected much and got 
nothing. It met on the 4th of June 1563. Now was the 
occasion for ratifying with the royal presence the Refor- 
mation, which had been passed in a mere Convention, and 
for devoting to its proper spiritual purposes the Church 
property which had been seized by the Church's lay 
friends ; but both these objects were effectively evaded. 
The Acts passed by the Convention. of 1560 remained 
unconfirmed, and care seemed to be taken to avoid any 
reference to the proceedings on that great occasion, as if 
they involved questions tacitly set aside by both parties 
for subsequent adjustment The Estates commenced 
business by passing an " Act of Oblivion," to protect firom 
prosecution all concerned in the troubles immediately 
preceding the queen's arrival. The period of time covered 
by its protecting clauses was firom 6th March 1558 to ist 
September 1561. The chief object of this Act was to 
secure firom dispute the transactions about Church lands 
during that period — transactions which the Protestant 
clergy looked on as a robbery of their Church, but which 
many of their lay supporters had reasons for keeping quiet, 
even when adherents of the old Church were the chief 
gamers by them. 

For any other purpose than this, the Parliament need 
not have assembled, since all its other business consisted of 
petty regulations about cruives and yairs, the exportation 
of bullion, the manufacture of salt — ^unless it may be con- 
sidered an exception to the general triviality of the pro- 
ceedings that a statute was passed discharging all per- 
sons, of whatsomever estate, degree, or condition, to use 
any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, or necromancy, under 
the pain of death, ^' as well to be execute against the 

^ Knox, ii. 266. 


user, abuser, as the seeker of the response or consulta- 
tion." This is the first announcement on the statute-book, 
of a persecution for which Scotland became rather noto- 
rious. It was much desired by Knox, to whom the pro- 
gress of witchcraft and the kindred arts had been giving 
alarm ; but it was not sufficient to propitiate him in the 
absence of the more solid results which a Parliament 
should have brought forth. The proceedings of this Par- 
liament filled up the cup of Knox's gathering wrath against 
the Protestant lords, on their lukewarmness in the great 
cause, and over-anxiety about their worldly interests. He 
signified his displeasure on the occasion by solemnly 
breaking with Murray. It is very significantly suggested 
in Knox's History that Murray desired to see the estates 
and honours which he had obtained through the ruin of 
the Gordons effectively secured ; and that these things 
and other convenient arrangements for supporters being 
accomplished, he left the rest to the course of events, not 
choosing to take the strong hand with the queen Either 
than the assembled Estates might call for it The feud is 
thus told in Knox's History : " The matter fell so hot be- 
twixt the Earl of Murray and some others of the Court 
and John Knox, that familiarly after that time they spake 
not together more than a year and a half; for the said 
John, by his letter, gave a discharge to the said earl of a/1 
further intromission or care with his affairs." ^ 

A few days afterwards, Knox preached a renowned 
discourse. It was addressed to the Protestant lords, most 
of whom were present, and was sharpened with all his 
sternest eloquence, as a last appeal of duty to their obdu- 
rate hearts. He described, with picturesque pathos, how 
he and they had worked together in the evil days of 
temptation and danger. " In your most extreme dangers 
I have been with you. St Johnston, Cupar Moor, and 
the Craigs of Edinburgh are yet in my heart ; yea, that 
dark and dolorous night, wherein all ye, my lords, with 
shame and fear left, this time is yet in my mind, and God 
forbid that ever I should foi^get" ^ And where had they 

» Knox, a. 382. « Ibid, 384. 


cast the great truth for which all this temptation and 
danger and scandal had been braved, now that the perfect- 
ing of it was in their own hands ? " Shall this be the 
thankfulness that ye shall render unto your God, to betray 
His cause, when ye have it in your own hands to estab- 
lish it as ye please ? The queen, say ye, will not agree 
with us. Ask ye of her that which by God's Word ye may 
justly require, and if she will not agree with you in God, 
ye are not bound to agree with her in the devil." Before 
concluding, he sounded an admonitory blast of the trum- 
pet on a matter then under busy discussion, although it 
had not yet pointed to an individual conclusion — the 
queen's marriage. " And now, my lords, to put end to 
all I hear of 3ie queen's marriage. Dukes, brethren to 
emperors and kings, strive all for the best game ; but this, 
my lords, will I say. Note the day, and bear witness after, 
whensoever the nobility of Scotland, professing the Lord 
Jesus, consents that an infidel— and all Papists are infi- 
dels — ^shall be head to your sovereign, ye do so far as in 
ye lieth to banish Christ Jesus from this realm ; ye bring 
God's vengeance upon the country, a plague upon your- 
self, and perchance ye shall do small comfort to your 
sovereign." ^ 

"When Mary heard of this she resolved to have another 
controversy with her assailant, trusting, as on previous 
occasions, to her own unaided wit. She had no one 
present but the pacific Erskine of Dun. The attempt 
brought her little satisfaction. When asked why he went 
out of his way as a clergyman to meddle with the affairs 
of her marriage, Knox explained that it was his duty to 
admonish, and, where practicable, premonish his congre- 
gation of their sins; and if he saw them prepared to 
stand by inactive, and permit her to take to herself an 
idolatrous husband, he was constrained to admonish 
them on their sinfiilness and responsibility. According 
to his own account, he was on this occasion encountered 
by passionate bursts of weeping. His History states 
that " the said John stood still, without any alteration of 

1 Knox, ii. 385, 386. 


countenance for a long season," until it occurred to him 
to put in a word of comfort, founded on his domestic ex- 
perience. Weeping was far from pleasant to him, and 
he could scarce stand that of his own boys when under 
paternal flagellation. But on the present occasion, that 
he should be assailed by tears, was more unreasonable, 
the queen having no just cause for offence, since he had 
but spoken the truth, as his vocation craved of him. He 
was thrust for a time into an anteroom among the queen's 
ladies, a body for whom he had often expressed intense 
disgust, railing at their " stinkin' pride," and the " target- 
ting of their tails and the rest of their vanity," all calcu- 
lated to "provoke God's vengeance not only against 
those foolish women, but against the whole realm." The 
grim preacher was probably no more welcome to them 
than they to him ; but he resolved to improve the occa- 
sion, and to this accident we owe a sentence of quaint 
and solemn moralising, which may fairly match with 
Hamlet's over Yorick's skull : " O fair ladies, how plea- 
sant were this life of yours, if it should ever abide, and 
then in the end that we might pass to heaven with all 
this gay gear 1 But fie upon that knave Death, that will 
come whether we will or not ! And when he has laid on 
us his arrest, the foul worms will be busy with this flesh 
were it never so fair and so tender ; and the silly soul, 
I fear, shall be so feeble that it can neither carry with it 
gold, garnishing, targetting, pearl, nor precious stones."^ 
This, according to his History, was spoken by him 
" merrily," though it is not said to have been received 
in the lUce spirit After a short abiding, he was desired 
to depart, and the Court ladies and he were relieved of 
each other's presence. 

The conflict between the contending powers was soon 
afterwards brought to closer issue by an occurrence 
which did not leave the penal law entirely in the hands 
of the Protestants, but emboldened the Romanists also 
to seek its protection. In the summer of 1563, the queen 
made a progress in the western shires, hunting and hawk- 

^ Knox, ii. 3S9. 


ing as far northward as Argyle. She not only took her 
idolatry with her, and set it up in sundry places, according 
to Knox's siure information, but the followers left behind 
attended mass in the Chapel of Holyrood. One Sunday 
evening they appear to have been joined by an unusual 
number of the citizens, " which understanding, divers of 
the brethren, being sore offended, consulted how to re- 
dress that enormity ; and so were appointed certain of 
the most zealous and most upright in religion to wait 
upon the abbey, that they might note such persons as 
resorted to the mass." ^ Had the performance merely 
been deemed a public scandal, this deputation would have 
been liabl^t to the reproach of increasing the publicity 
and the scandal. But the act was looked upon as a crime 
which it is the citizen's duty to detect and denounce. 

Several persons were thus indicted, according to the es- 
tablished form, for making innovations and alterations on 
religion contrary to the queen's proclamation, but it does 
not appear that they were punished.^ They appear all 
to have been citizens of Edinburgh, and not the French 
followers, whom Knox terms dontibours, a term of equivo- 
cal origin. The noting and identification of the mass- 
mongers, however, being exciting work for the zealous 
and upright men who undertook it, there appears to have 
been violence. In Knox's History it is said, " Perceiving 
a great number to enter into the chapel, some of the 
brethren also burst in ; whereat the priest and the French 
dames being af&ayed, made the shout to be sent to the 
town."* Whatever may have been the extent of the 
violence committed, two of the party — ^Andrew Armstrong 
and George Boyd, burgesses — were indicted for " carry- 
ing pistols within the burgh, convention of the lieges at 
the palace, and invasion of the queen's servants." * This 
gave high offence to the Protestant clergy; and Knox, 
who said he had been intrusted with authority to convene 
the champions of the cause in case of danger or emer- 
gency, considered that the hour had come for which this 

* Knox, ii. 393. " Pitcaim, L 435*. 

• Knox, H. 393. * Pitcairn, i. 434*. 

;6 QtJEtl^ MAkV. 

precaution was taken, and issued a circular warning to the 
faithful, calling on them to assemble in Edinburgh on the 
24th of October, the day fixed for the trial of Armstrong 
and Boyd 

Such pains seem to have been taken to preserve secrecy 
in this summons, although very widely circulated, that 
Knox is loud in his denunciations of the treachery by 
which it was made known to the queen's advisers. These 
considered that at last they had Knox at their mercy, 
with a charge of treason haiiging over him for convoca- 
tion of the lieges. Some eflforts of Murray and the Mas- 
ter of Maxwell to get him to accept of leniency, founded 
on a partial admission of error, were received with 
haughty scorn, and he was cited to appear before the 
queen in Council. The assemblage does not appear to 
have been limited to the Secret Council, nor was it a 
meeting in full of the Estates, but something like a com- 
mittee of the Government officers and chief members 
of Parliament. The queen attended, and took a leading 
part in the business. Her approach is described in her 
opponent's History as that of a haughty and prematurely- 
exulting foe. " Her pomp lacked one principal point — 
to wit, womanly gravity ; for when she saw John Knox 
standing at the other end of the table bareheaded, she 
first sraUed, and after gave ane gawf lauchter ; whereat, 
when her placeboes gave their plauditey afiirming with like 
countenance, ' This is ane good beginning,' she said ; ' but 
wit ye whereat I laugh ? Yon man gart me greet, and 
grat never tear himself. I will see if I can gar him 
greet' "^ There was a long discussion, Knox stem and 
unbending as usual. The sum of his defence — or rather 
justification, for he scorned to demean himself as one 
pleading to a chaige — was that convocation of the lieges 
for evil purposes was doubtless a crime ; but his was for 
a good purpose, a holy purpose — ^he was " doing the duty 
of God's messenger" in writing this letter. The assem- 
blage declined to inculpate him. Their motives on the 
occasion are not very clear, for there seems to have been 

^ Knox, it 404. 


a Strong feeling, even among the zealous lay Reformers, 
that it would be dangerous to let such an act pass. It is 
open to the reader to believe with the exulting accused 
that " there was not ane that plainly durst condemn the 
poor man that was accused, this same God ruling their 
tongue that formerly ruled the tongue of Balaam when 
gladly he would have cursed God's people."^ It may 
also have had its influence on the assemblage that, " the 
bruit rising in the town that John Knox was sent for by 
the queen, the brethren of the Kirk followed in such 
number that the inner close was full, and all the stairs, 
even to the chamber door where the queen and Council 
sat." 2 On being told that he might depart homewards, 
he turned to the queen and prayed that God would purge 
her heart from Popery, and preserve her from the counsel 
of flatterers.* 

A General Assembly was held immediately afterward^ 
and there Knox sought, and of course immediately re- 
ceived, a full justification of his conduct. So the aflfair 
ended. There are no traces of ultimate proceedings 
against the rioters. The lay friends of the Reformation 
got no thanks for any leniency shown on this occasion ; 
on the contrary, from that time the wrath of the preachers 
became ever louder against them as participators in the 
idolatry of her they served. They anticipated the Divine 
vengeance on the land for these sins, and soon found it 
executed. " God from heaven, and upon the face of the 
earth, gave declaration that He was offended at the 
iniquity that was committed even within this realm; for 
upon the 20th day of January there fell wet in great 
abundance, which in the falling freezed so vehemently 
that the earth was but ane sheet of ice. The fowls both 
great and small freezed, and might not flee ; many died, 
and some were taken and laid beside the fire that their 
feathers might resolve. And in that same month the sea 
stood still, as was clearly observed, and neither ebbed nor 
flowed the space of twenty-four hours. In the month of 
February, the isth and i8th days thereof, was seen in the 

» Knox, ii. 411. « Ibid., 403. • Ibid., 411. 


firmament battles arrayed, spears, and other weapons, and 
as it had been the joining of two armies." ^ 

The gloom that had been gathering over the prospects 
of the zealous Reformers now deepened apace. The 
clergy besought the mitigation of God's wrath for the sins 
of the land in their prayers, which, as they freely exposed 
the great cause of all the evils, became thus a powerful 
weapon of assault Knox adopted a form of prayer for 
the occasion, which he freely repeated when questioned for 
the last time about his conduct It was in these terms : — 

" O I/Ord, if Thy pleasure be, purge the heart of the 
queen's majesty from the venom of idolatry, and deliver 
her from the bondage and thraldom of Satan, in the whilk 
she has been brought up and yet remains, for the lack of 
true doctrine ; and let her see, by the illumination of the 
Holy Spirit, that there is no mean to please Thee but by 
Jesus Christ Thy only Son, and that Jesus Christ cannot 
be found but in Thy Holy Word, nor yet received but as 
it prescribes, which is to renounce our own wits and pre- 
conceived opinion, and worship Thee as Thou demandest ; 
that in so doing she may avoid that eternal damnation 
which abides all obstinate and impenitent unto the end ; 
and that this poor realm may also escape that plague and 
vengeance which inevitably follows idolatry maintained 
against Thy manifest Word and the open light thereof."^ 

This prayer came under question in the following shape. 
A General Assembly was held in the summer of 1564, at 
which the lay lords expected their clerical friends to take 
violent measures. At the first sitting, these lay lords, 
called The Courtiers, were not present, and it was pro- 
posed that measures should be taken with them to compel 
them to do their duty as humble members of the national 
Church. The courtiers were accordingly summoned to 
attend, and they appeared next day ; but instead of mix- 
ing with the assembled clergy and their brother elders at 
once, it appears that they passed into an inner council- 
room to hold a preliminary conference. Thence they 
sent a message requesting the superintendents " and some 

» Knox, ii. 417. " Ibid., 428. 


of the learned ministers " to confer with them. The Assem- 
bly answered that they could not spare their principal 
members, and that it better became the courtiers to take 
their part in the general deliberations than to draw away 
those whose services were the most valuable to the Assem- 
bly. After an angry discussion, it was at last agreed that 
a preliminary conference might be held between the lay 
and clerical leaders, on the understanding that they should 
conclude nothing, but that all should be redebated in open 
assembly. Among the courtiers there were Hamilton, 
Argyle, Murray, Morton, Glencaim, Marischal, Rothes, 
the Laird of Pittarrow, and chief of all, as him on whom 
the labour of the controversy fell, Secretary Lethington. 
On the clerical side were Erskine of Dun, Spottiswood, 
Winram, and Willock, who, according to an arrangement 
for providing a governing body in the new Church, were 
Superintendents of districts. They were assisted by Row, 
Craig, and Hay. 

Knox, who for some unexplained reason seems to have 
been reluctant to appear, was forced into the discussion on 
the infallible plea that his own conduct was to be ques- 
tioned, and his absence would be cowardice. Once there, 
the whole conduct of the conflict naturally fell into his 
hands. He was opposed by the ready-debating talent 
and subtle wit of the secretary. But in the ranlS of the 
laymen there was an assailable point, which rendered 
victory to the others secure from the beginning. A 
rumour had been ominously whispered about among the 
clergy, and had gained such palpable force that some of 
them had in fear and grief sought to relieve their hearts 
concerning it in their public prayers. It was to the 
effect that some of their lay friends had been heard to 
doubt if the queen's mass really were the idolatry which 
must be punished with death. It was the great aim of 
Knox's rhetoric and his taunts to drive his opponents 
to the avowal of this doubt ; but whatever they inward- 
ly thought, none of them had courage for the avowal. 
Thus the clergy had all the advantage possessed by men 
with one simple clear conclusion which they delighted in 
avowing, over those who wished to avoid avowals, and to 


carry the controversy into subsidiary channels. The clergy 
were chained with dwelling too strongly on the queen's 
impenitence. Why should they propagate the impression 
that she was obdurate in her sins ? why not make allow- 
ance for. penitence coming in due time ? But this argu- 
ment tottered under its own inherent weakness. The 
supposition of her repentance was a farce — ^nothing was 
farther from her thoughts ; and all of them knew by that 
time, if they did not before, that she was as thorough a 
bigot to her own creed as the most zealous of themselves 
was to his. 

Then supposing her to be sinful and impenitent, yet 
she was a queen, and could not be punished or controlled 
in her personal actions ; and for subjects to rail at them, 
whether in pulpits or elsewhere, was disrespect to the 
Lord's anointed, if not worse. Lethington had the im- 
prudence to throw out a challenge that Scripture prece- 
dents could not be found for such arraignments of the 
conduct of princes. This was a call to Knox to draw 
on the resources of his great arsenal of Bible-learning. 
He had so abundant a choice, that with characteristic 
pride he cared not to cite precedents except from the 
doings of the greater prophets. There were Elisha 
and King Jehoram; Jeremiah, who cried aloud to the 
kings Zedekiah and Jdioiakim ; and happiest instance of 
all, '' Ahab was ane king, and Jezebel was ane queen, and 
yet what the prophet Elijah said to the one and to the 
other, I suppose ye be not ignorant"^ "The idolater 
shall die the death." " God's laws pronounce death to 
idolaters without exception of any person." Such was the 
terrible burden of the preacher's argument to the con- 
clusion ; and the courtiers had nothing to answer it with. 
Craig, who had led a strange wandering life, appealed to a 
precedent of later times, when Protestantism had for a 
short time dominion in Bologna, and it was resolved by 
the eminent doctors there that idolatrous rulers must be 
deposed by subjects sound in the faith. 

The discussion was taking a dangerously practical direc- 

* Knox, ii. 432. 


tion, when Macgill, the clerk-register, diverted it by re- 
minding the meeting of the previous proposal to consult 
Calvin and the Continental heads of the Protestant faith 
how far obedience was due to infidel princes. Lethington 
admitted that he had undertaken that duty, but that when 
it came to be done he shrank from deliberately inquiring of 
foreigners whether it was his duty to depose his sovereign. 
Knox was pressed to write such a letter to Calvin, but de- 
clined. It is odd enough that he never alludes to his 
having already written one.^ The conference ended with- 
out any practical conclusion. No vote was taken in the 
General Assembly ; and the reason why there was none 
appears to be because the committee of leaders, which, as 
we have seen, the Assembly were averse to sanction, once 
finding themselves set apart, and divided into two parties 
eager for controversy, debated so long that the Assembly 
got tired, and dispersed. The lay Protestants — the Lords 
of the Congregation — ^with Murray at their head, had by 
this time their own deep anxieties to deal with. They 
could not, on the one hand, bring the clergy to what they 
thought reason ; on the other, they saw more clearly, day 
by day, that there was no room for a temperate party; 
that Knox and Craig were right in holding the queen to 
be obdurate and impenitent in her idolatry, and that in 
the great conflict hers was the party the more likely of the 
two to be successfiil. The point on which the question 
of Protestant or Roman Catholic appears at that time to 
turn was the queen's marriage ; and before narrating that 
event, with its wondrous consequents, it may be proper 
to glance at some of its precedents. 

^ Knox, ii. 460. 






Ever since the death of her husband, the admirers of 
the young queen had been very troublesome. Besides 
the members of reigning houses who were offered or 
spoken of after the usual fashion of projected royal alli- 
ances, her steps were infested by audacious and demon- 
strative adorers, who had no claims to such a destiny. 
Whether the passive influence of her wonderful wit and 
beauty rendered this phenomenon inevitable, or it might 
be in any measure promoted by some little touches of se- 
ductive fascination in her manner, is a question which 
students of her history will in general decide for them- 
selves. The most eminent among these miscellaneous 
admirers, and the one who came nearest to the rank 
which might have justified the expectation of her hand, 

THE queen's admirers, 1561-62. 83 

was D'Amville, the second son of the Constable Mont- 
morency, who afterwards succeeded to the offices and 
honours of his family — ^the most illustrious among the un- 
regal nobility of France. He was one of those who ac- 
companied tiie queen to Scotland. He had a wife ; but 
to such homage as he was entitled to tender, that was no 

Arran, the heir of the house of Hamilton, was numbered 
among the queen's suitors. The position of that family 
at the juncture of Mary's return was very peculiar, and so 
was their conduct. The head of the house was next heir 
to the crown, and held this position not merely by genea- 
logical tenure, but by the repeated acknowledgments of 
Parliament, which had made provision for his claims be- 
coming effectual if the succession opened. It was not in 
human nature that the man so placed should enter, with 
the indifference of an ordinary subject, into questions 
about the most suitable alliance for his sovereign, and the 
desirableness of a direct heir appearing to the house of 
Stewart. Whether from temper or policy, he evaded the 
usual demands of homage paid by tiie nobility. His ab- 
sence from Court was of course noticed, and was in fact 
rather the assumption of a diplomatic position than an 
ordinary discourtesy. Something of menace, too, appeared 
in his movements, and especially in his jealously fortifying 
and keeping well garrisoned the fortress of Dumbarton. 
The annalists of the day mention a sudden alarm arising 
in Holyrood House one summer night in the year 1561, 
when the Lord James was absent suppressing the border- 
ers, and the palace was peculiarly unprotected. This in- 
cident is isolated — unconnected with any train of events 
preceding or following it. It is briefly recorded in the 
quaint manner of Knox's History, in a spirit of latent 
sarcasm : " The queen upon a night took a fray in her 
bed, as if horsemen had been in the close, and the palace 
had been enclosed about Whether it proceeded of her 
own womanly fantasy, or if men put her in fear for dis- 
pleasure of the Earl of Arran, and for other purposes, as 
for the erecting of the guard, we know not. But the feai 
was so great that the town was called to the watch." 


The shape into which the cause of this panic was pat; 
was a design by young Arran to seize the queen and 
carry her into the district where the house of Hamilton 
was supreme. If the queen had, as Knox and others 
thought, no ground for her apprehensions, yet such an 
enterprise was not inconsistent with the spirit of the times, 
and it is impossible to disconnect it with certain subse- 
quent transactions in which the name of so veiy practical 
a person as the Earl of Bothwell is mixed up. The alarm 
in Holyrood must have occurred in November 1561, the 
date of Murray's absence on the border ; the further in- 
cidents now to be noticed belong to the spring of the fol- 
lowing year. Elnox was intimately concerned in them, 
and they are narrated with much distinctness in his His- 
tory. The afl^ir begins by Bothwell desiring a private 
interview with Knox, which was gladly conceded; and 
they met in the house of James Barron, a worshipful bur- 
gess of Edinburgh. The scene resolved itself into a sort 
of Protestant confessional The earl bewailed his sinfu] 
life, and entered into particulars of his offences, whereof 
he heartily repented. But there remained behind a prac- 
tical object in which he desired the Reformer's interven- 
tion — ^it pressed hard on him that he was at enmity with 
the Earl of Arran, and he solicited Knox's good offices 
for their reconciliation. Knox undertook the task with 
thorough goodwill ; in some way or other it is evident 
that the heart of the austere preacher had been gained. 
He said his grandfather, father, and father-in-law had 
served under the banner of the Hepbums — this by the 
way, as connecting them together by the obligation of 
their "Scottish kindness;" but he had another and a 
more solemn function as the public messenger of glad 
tidings, and so he bestowed on the penitent a suitable ad- 
monition to prove the sincerity of his penitence by his 

Bothwell stuck to the practical point — of a reconcilia- 
tion with Arran. Knox busied himself in the matter, and 
after overcoming some practical difficulties, he had the 
satisfaction to see them meet and embrace, the Earl of 
Arran saying to his new friend, " If the hearts be upright, 


few ceremonies may serve and content me." Knox, who 
seems to have been mightily pleased with his handiwork, 
left them with the benediction following : " Now, my 
lords, God hath brought you together by the labours of 
simple men, in respect of those who would have travailed 
therein. I know my labours are already taken in an evil 
part, but because I have the testimony of a good consci- 
ence before my God, that whatsoever I have done, I have 
done it in His fear, for the profit of you both, for the 
hurt of none, and for the tranquillity of this realm." 
The good work seemed to be perfected, when next day 
Bothwell and " some of his honest friends came to the 
sermon with the earl foresaid, whereat many rejoiced." 

But in a few days tlie scene was changed. Arran came 
repeatedly to Knox, and poured into his ears a tale how 
Bothwell had offered to help him to carry off the queen, 
and put her in his hands in Dumbarton Castle, proposing 
at the same time the slaughter of Murray, Lethington, and 
the others that " misguide her." These revelations seem 
to have gone on for some time, when Knox at last found 
that his informant was raving. " He devised of wondrous 
signs that he saw in the heaven ; he alleged that he was 
bewitched ; he would have been in the queen's bed, and 
affirmed that he was her husband ; and finally, he behaved 
in all things so foolishly that his frenzy could not be 

He was subjected to the process by which in Scotland 
insane persons are deprived of the management of their 
property.* His madness cannot be doubted, whether or 
not it was rightly attributed to his despairing love for the 
queen. However it arose, his accusations against Both- 
well, to which he resolutely adhered, were not only gravely 
considered and examined at the time, but were three 
years afterwards, when Bothwell returned from France, 
solemnly resuscitated in the form of a criminal indictment 
or summons of treason. In this document it is specifi- 
cally set forth that Bothwell proposed a plan for seizing 
the queen when she was hunting in the fields, or in one of 

* Knox, ii. 322-329.  Mor. Diet. Dec, 627^. 


her niial menTmakings^ and conveying her with a suffici- 
ent force to Dumbarton Castle. There she was to be at 
the disposal of Arran ; and it was part of the charge that 
by this Bothwell seduced him to join in the enterprise. 
As Bothwell did not appear to answer to the chaige, he 
was outlawed, and the a&ur was forgotten amid the more 
stirring historical incidents in whidi he was to figure.^ 
As the conclusion of this episode, it is proper to note that 
in the end of April 1562, a month after the date attributed 
to Bothwell's conversation with Arran, the Castle of 
Dumbarton was yielded up to Captain Anstruther, to be 
held for the queen,* In Knox's History the extraction of 
this fortress from the hands of the Hamiltons is spoken 
of as a breach of faith, on the ground that the custody of 
it had been granted to them '' till that lawfid succession 
should be seen of the queen's body."' Thus the fortress 
was understood to stand as a material guarantee for the 
protection of the house of Hamilton's right of succession 
to the throne. 

It has been already recorded how the unfortunate Sir 
John Gordon, the son of the rebel E^l of Huntly, con- 
ducted himself as a lover of the queen. But the most 
troublesome and preposterous of all her train of admirers 
was a Frenchman named Chatelar or Chastelard, who also 
fell a victim to his follies. Little is known of him, except 
from the pages of Brantome ; but his mere appearance 
there, accompanied by expressions of eulogy and warm 
attachment, is sufficient to mark him as a man of distinc- 
tion. The biographer says he was a native of Dauphind, 
and a grand-nephew by his mother of the illustrious 
Bayard, whom he resembled in person. According to 
the same authority, he owned in a high degree not only 
all the warlike and polite accomplishments of a high-bred 
gallant of the day, but possessed original literary genius, 
and could accompany his lute by his own poetry — " usant 
d'une podsie fort douce et gentile en cavalier." He was a 
follower of the Constable Montmorency, with whom he 
joined the body of gentlemen who escorted the queen 

^ Pitcairn, i. 462*. ' Diurnal of Occorrents. ' Knox, ii. 33a 

CHATELAR, 1561-63. * 8^ 

from France. A gentil mot of his on that occasion has 
been recorded — that when a fog sprang up, and the neces- 
sity of lights was spoken of, he said the bright eyes of 
their mistress were sufficient to light the fleet past all 

He had certainly been admitted on terms of some 
familiarity with the queen. Brantome says her love of 
letters led her to admire the young man's poems, of which 
she was often naturally the theme, and that she answered 
him in verses which raised within him the wildest aspira- 
tions. It is difficult to mark the limits within which at 
that period a royal personage at any of the French or 
Italian Courts might legitimately flatter and encourage a 
person of good birth, endowed with the literary accom- 
plishments of the troubadour. The homage paid to Ron- 
sard, by beauties of princely rank, was more like adoration 
than patronage. But Knox certainly shows ignorance of 
the fitting usages of a court at that time, when he says, 
" The queen would lie on Chatelar's shoulder, and some- 
times privily she would steal a kiss of his neck ; and all 
this was honest enough, for it was the gentle entreatment 
of a stranger. But the familiarity was so great, that on a 
night he privily did convey himself under the queen's bed."^ 
That he committed this folly, whatever his encouragement 
may have been, is beyond doubt, though Randolph states 
that by his own account his hiding-place was a part of the 
establishment still less adapted for romance or love- 
making.^ The occurrence was in Holy rood. For this 
first offence, though flagrant enough, he was spared and 
warned. Next day, however, as Mary spent the night at 
Burntisland, on her way to St Andrews, he burst into her 
private apartment, either to plead a palliation for his con- 
duct or to plead his suit. It is said in Knox's History 
that Mary desired him to be forthwith put to death, but 
that Murray, who was present, maintained it to be due 
to the fair course of justice, and more conducive to her 
own good repute, that he should be brought to trial, and 
the same is told at the time by Randolph writing to Ce- 

^ Knox, ii. 36S. ' Raumer, aa. 


ciU He was tried at St Andrews, condemned, and execut- 
ed. The records of the Court of Justiciary for that period 
having been lost, we are deprived of any light which they 
might have cast on this strange story. Whoever . desires 
to read how he died, like a true knight-errant, turning 
to the direction of his bright particular star, though it 
was obscured from his view, and unheard addressing 
her as the most lovely and cruel of her sex, may turn 
to the lively pages of Brantome. Chatelar's adventures 
fed many preposterous rumours, and the King of Spain 
was told that he had been hired in France to do as he 
did, for the purpose of ruining the queen's matrimonial 

Chatelar had been sent to France with the other 
attendants of the queen soon after her arrival, and had 
found his way back to the centre of attraction. One of 
the few wise things done by Mary and her advisers was 
the speedy restoration to their own country of this foreign 
train, whose presence in Scotland, however discreetly they 
might have conducted themselves, would have fostered 
a special growth of jealousies and animosities, in addition 
^o the already luxuriant crop. What the rest would have 
incurred we learn in the brief history of one of them who 
remained behind the others — D'Elboeuf, the queen's uncle. 
He was charged with having joined some dissipated Scots- 
men in a nocturnal riot, in which they forced an entrance 
to the house of a citizen, seeking access to a damsel 

^ Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 15th Feb. 1563. — Randolph, 
exaggerating as was his wont, makes the offence of the besotted youth 
amount to violence almost successful ; and he moralises on the inci- 
dent in this fashion : ** Thus your honour heareth the beginning of 
a lamentable story, whereof much infamy will arise ; as I fear, now 
well soever the wound be healed, the scar will for ever remain. Thus 
your honour seeth what mischief cometh of over-great familiarity that 
any such personage showeth unto so unworthy a creature and abject 
a varlet as ever her grace used with him." Randolph admits, with 
somewhat of a grumble, that the queen never spoke to him about 
this affair, and concludes his news by telling that the one who takes 
it most to heart is Murray, because of the ^il rumours it may occa- 
won. — Ibid., 167. 

• Teulet, iii. L 

PURITAN REACTION, 1561-63. 89 

living there. It is not stated that they committed vio- 
lence on her, or even got access to her ; and her own 
conduct was so far from being irreproachable, that the 
affair arose out of a dispute as to the person to whom she 
had for the time being sold her blandishments, and the 
object of the riot was to put one of the claimants in pos- 
session. The criminal records of the day convey a very 
false impression of the social condition of the country, 
if far heavier oflfences of the same character were not 
of daily occurrence. Yet the participation of D'Elboeuf 
raised this paltry riot to a place in history. In Knox's 
Book it is said that " the horror of this fact, and the rarity 
of it, highly commoved all godly hearts.''^ A sort of 
General Assembly was convened on the occasion, who 
addressed the que^n in a long remonstrance about the 
impiety, " so heinous and so horrible that, as it was a fact 
most Yile and rare to be heard of within this realm, prin- 
cipally within the bounds of this city, so should we Uiink 
ourselves guilty of the same if negligently, or yet for 
worldly fear, we pass it over in silence.*' They predicted 
that its going unpunished might cause God's sore dis- 
pleasure to fall on her and her whole realm.^ The queen 
resisted the prosecution of the oflfenders, but promised 
measures for better order in time coming. 

It must be admitted, however, that so far as the clergy 
were concerned, they do not seem to have applied to the 
Frenchman a more rigid rule of virtue than that which 
they followed themselves and endeavoured to enforce on the 
community generally. They were under the impulse of 
that great reaction against the profligacy of the age — the 
reaction which, driven out of France, where it had its 
origin, swept England under the name of Puritanism, and 
established a permanent influence over opinion in Scot- 
land. Calvin had to take his notions of the absolute rule 
of saintship away from France, where the Huguenots were 
m a minority, to the small state of Geneva ; and Knox 
sought to establish in Scotland the same iron rule which 

^ Kqox, ii. 315. 

' Knox, ii. 316. Book of the Universal Kirk, 29th May 1561. 


his master was able with difficulty to hold over that smaD 
and peculiar state. The rigidness of the rule by which he 
and his brethren of the clergy had resolved to walk is 
better exemplified by one exceptional case of backsliding 
than by their professions of godliness. One of the new 
clergymen — Paul Methven, minister of Jedburgh — was ac- 
cused of connubial infidelity. Instead of any effort to con- 
ceal this reproach to their body, they proclaimed it aloud 
as an awful and inscrutable judgment, and hunted the 
accused man until, whether guilty or not, he fled from 
his pursuers. He had a claim that would have served 
him well in any Church disposed to hide the frailties of its 
zealous champions, for he had the glory of martyrdom. 
We find him outlawed in 1559 for "usurping the authority 
and ministry of the Church," and addffessing large assem- 
blies in Dundee and Montrose.* The excitement aroused 
in a considerable body of men by the revelation among 
them of this one black sheep, points to the conclusion 
that such sins were rare in the community to which Meth- 
ven belonged. Had there been other instances of flagrant 
offence, these too would have been made known ; for it 
was a peculiarity of the Presbyterian bodies to blazon the 
infirmities of their own members as judgments and warn- 
ings, while those of the opposite religion were dealt with 
by ecclesiastical superiors, and shrouded in what they 
deemed decorous privacy. 

While thus perplexed by immoralities without and 
within, the new Church had to look to the more serious 
question of its own safety, and the preservation of the 
Reformed faith. The question, which party should be su- 
preme in Scotland, seemed to depend so much upon the 
queen's marriage, that both preserved a sort of armed 
neutrality until that event should take place, and declare 
for the one or the other. The anxiety on the point tra- 

^ Pitcaim's Criminal Trials, I. 407. Randolph relating the scandal to 
Cecil, as a morsel of important news, calls him ** a preacher brought 
up under Mr Coverdale — the translator of the Bible, we must sup- 
pose ; and that " he has escaped into England, or was drowned id 
crossing the water thitherwards.^' — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 
22d January 1562. 


veiled indeed far beyond the bounds of Scotland : for if 
Mary, with her claims on the crown of England, were 
married to some great Catholic potentate, no one could 
calculate what strength such an event might bring to the 
cause of Rome ; while, on the other hand, a Protestant 
king in Edinburgh would secure Scotland, at all events, 
to the cause of the Reformation. Her ambitious relations 
the Guises were fully alive to the important influence 
which the result must have on their own designs and 
prospects. It is only in the events of later times that we 
can appreciate the scope and tendency of the projects of 
that illustrious race, and see how near they were to the 
accomplishment of a great revolution. They appeared 
in all their lustre at a time when the French had few great 
men, and were becoming discontented with the position 
they found themselves holding among European powers. 
What the family of Bonaparte since achieved, this ambi- 
tious house were on the point of achieving in the sixteenth 
century. If we look into the history of each of the several 
great men of the house, we shall find them all strengthen- 
ing their position by a marvellously dexterous use of every 
available instrument, and uniting to propagate an im- 
pression throughout the world that some wonderful des- 
tiny was in store for them. They gave themselves out 
as the true descendants of Charlemagne, through that 
Lothaire, the founder of Lotharingia or Lorraine, whose 
race was superseded on the throne of France by the 
d3niasty of Hugh Capet ; and though they would have 
found it hard to prove this descent to fastidious genealo- 
gists, the history of their family gave plausibility to their 
claim. When their niece ascended the throne of France, 
they received a solid accession of power ; and whatever 
may have been the form of their ambitious dreams for the 
future, they had the certainty, while she and her husband 
lived, of ruling supreme in France. 

The death of the young king was a severe blow to them, 
They had just perfected their measures for crushing the 
house of Bourbon, where, from the physical condition ol 
the remnant of the Valois family, they saw the future pro- 
bable successors to the throne of France. With the change 


of fortune, they were compelled to give up their hold on 
Cond^, Coligny, and the other illustrious victims through 
whom the cause of the Huguenots and the Bourbon family 
were to be crushed ; and they found in Catherine of Medici, 
the mother of the boy who succeeded to the throne, one 
who had the will, and might very soon have the power, to 
trample them under her feet. 

Far from abandoning their great projects, however, the 
history of their country has declared how they came back 
to the contest with redoubled efforts and new resources. 
The marriage of their niece was again in their hands, as a 
means of giving strength to their position. They bethought 
them that, with her claims on the crown of England, were 
she married to the heir of the King of Spain, the most 
powerful monarch of the day, there would arise a more 
glorious prospect for her and themselves than even that 
which the death of King Francis had extinguished. Ac- 
cordingly they laboured hard to bring about her marriage 
with Don Carlos, the heir of the Spanish crown, then in 
his sixteenth year. The project was unsuccessful, and of 
the manner in which it was defeated we at least know this 
much, that Catherine of Medici was indefatigable in her 
eflforts to bafHe it Among other evidence of her indus- 
try, some letters written in cipher to the Bishop of Limoges, 
the French ambassador in Spain, have lately been deci- 
phered.* They are interesting in themselves, as specimens 
of the subtle and tortuous method by whidi this incom- 
prehensible woman worked for her ends. One reading 
these letters cannot of course fathom their ultimate ob- 
jects, which are laboriously concealed from the bishop 
himself; but the overpowering intensity of her eagerness 
to stop the match between her daughter-in-law and Don 
Carlos breaks through all the avowed objects of the cor- 

Philip's own intentions lie hidden among the other 
mysteries of his policy ; but it seems clear that he enter- 
tained, if he did not push, the match. Catherine's sus 
picions were directed against him at so early a period that, 

> Ch^el, Marie Stuart et Catherine de Medicis, &c., 22. 


when Don Juan de Manriquez was sent from Spain to 
France on a message of condolence for the death of 
Francis II., Catherine said this was a pretence ; for his 
actual mission, in which he exerted himself, was to nego- 
tiate with the Guises for the marriage of their niece with 
Don Carlos. The preponderance which such an eve at 
would give to Spain, influenced the policy of France in 
relation to the resumption of the Council of Trent, as 
seriously affecting the influence which Spain, aggrandised 
by such an alliance, would exercise among the Catholic 

The immediate object most keenly urged by Catherine 
is a personal meeting with Philip. She seems to have 
thought that, if she once had an opportunity of talking 
with him, all her objects were gained — a curious instance 
of her thorough reliance on her diplomatic powers, since 
it would be difficult to point in history to a potentate 
more obdurately and hopelessly self-willed than the man 
she expected to bring over. Intensely as she desired the 
interview, it must be so arranged as to seem unpremedi- 
tated ; and she laid down a little chain of events through 
which it might be brought to pass as if it were fortuitous. 
In September, as she ascertained, the King of Spain would 
attend a public spectacle in Aragon. Towards the end of 
July her son would make his public entry into Paris, after 
his consecration at Rheims. She might herself go as far 
as Touraine under the natural pretext of visiting Che- 
nenceau, the beautiful chateau out of which she had 
driven her hated rival, Diana of Poitiers. Her son the 
king would be with her, and they might probably go on 
to Gascony, where the King of Navarre had a project for 
letting the people see their young king ; so she would be 
near Spain, and the meeting, which must appear to the 
world an affair of chance, might be accomplished. 

If the meeting were held, she was to take the opportu- 
nity of proving to Philip that the proposed marriage would 
in reality be disastrous to the interests of the Church, the 
promotion of which was the avowed object for urging it. 

* Gistelnau, Laboureur Additions aux M^moires, i. 480, 554. 


She katw that Philip held the interest of the Church 
beyond all things at heart ; and could she but obtain this 
interview, there were innumerable shapes in which they 
could combine to promote that object, the dearest to her 
heart as it was to his. The Guises, though the self-con- 
stituted champions of the Church, were not truly devoted 
to it — they were too ambitious and worldly. Even now 
they were in league with the King of Navarre, whose in- 
terests would predominate in France along with theirs. 
Let the King of Spain sap this worldly coalition, and take 
to his bosom her own young son-the King of France, inspire 
him with true zeal, and so raise up a hero worthy to serve 
with him in his great enterprise for the restoration of the 
rights of the Church. This pleading is a signal instance 
of the plausibility and subtle duplicity of the woman. 
She was then contemplating and preparing for an alliance 
of her own interests with those of the Guises, as likely to 
be the best security for her supremacy ; but she did not 
desire that her prospective ally should acquire an influence 
which would give him the mastery. She relied thoroughly 
on the absorbing character of Philip's religious bigotry, 
though she had none herself ; and yet at the same time 
she laid before him a small temporal bait, in case he 
should possess some latent element of worldliness, in her 
allusions to the King of Navarre, who was then disput- 
ing with the King of Spain the possession of certain 

She did not obtain her interview, but she gained her 
ultimate end in breaking the match. She bore, in her 
objections to it, on the King of Spain's ear through all 
available channels, not 'forgetting his confessor. Her 
most available ally, however, seems to have been her own 
70ung daughter, who had been married to Philip after the 
death of Mary, Queen of England. Catherine had known 
and keenly felt the humiliation of giving precedence to 
the haughty beauty as reigning queen, on the death of her 
husband, and could tell her own daughter what she had 
to anticipate in a similar position. The mother, indeed, 
suggested that her daughter, the Queen of Spain, 
should endeavour to keep this preferment for her own 


young sister, Marguerite of Valois, the same who became 
afterwards the wife of Hemy IV. It appears that at 
last Catherine of Medici even influenced the Guises to 
abandon their project^ But it was not abandoned by 
Mary herself. When she was not under the influence of 
the violent attachments to which she afterwards yielded, 
and while she viewed her marriage as a poHtic arrange- 
ment, she scorned anything but a thoroughly great al- 
liance. So when it was proposed to marry her to the 
Archduke Charles, the second son of the emperor, she con- 
temptuously rejected him for substantial reasons. As a 
stranger, he would have no following or political influence 
in Scotland. Estimating him among the powers of Europe, 
he was nothing but a younger son, without fortune or tifle, 
and with no power to assert her birthright — the entire 
sovereignty of Britain.^ It was the more mortif)dng to 
her also to find that, when this marriage was proposed, 
Philip II. drew back in courtesy to his uncle the emperor. 
When he learned Queen Mary's repulse of the German 
alliance, he reopened the negotiation, observing that he 
would have been well pleased to have seen his relation the 
archduke husband to the Queen of Scodand, if that alliance 
would have furthered the views he had at heart ; but he 
really believed a marriage with his own son would be more 
efiective in settling religious difficulties in England. In 
the year 1563, when Don Alvaro de la Quadra was Spanish 
ambassador in England, there was at the same time a 
Spanish gentleman connected with his embassy named 
De Paz, who went to Scotland as representative of Spain 
with special instructions about the proposed marriage of 
Mary with Don Carlos, and, to shroud his journey in 
secrecy passed round by Ireland.® 

The negotiations of De Paz, and their immediate result, 
are as yet buried in mystery. We know, however, that 
Mary herself renewed the negotiations for the marriage, if 
they can be ever said to have died. She wrote earnest 

* See Authorities in Mignet, chapter iii. 

* See Docaments, LAbanofT, i. 248, 295. 

* Ch^el, 35. Papiers d'Etat du Cardinal de Granvelle, vii. 208. 


letters about it to Granvelle, her uncle the cardinal and 
her aunt the Duchess of Arschot. Castelnau, when he 
went to Holyrood after having delivered to Queen Eliza- 
beth the mocking proposal for her marriage with the young 
King of France, said, probably with truth, that Queen 
Mary held easy and confidential communications with him 
about the several princes named to her, as the Archduke 
Charles, the Prince of Ferrara, several princes of Germany, 
and the Prince of Condd, an alliance with whom would 
accomplish the desirable end of bringing the house of 
Bourbon on closer terms with the house of Guise. The 
ambassador hinted that a marriage with the Duke of Anjou 
would enable her to return to France. To this she said, 
with a touch of graceful sentiment quite her own, that in- 
deed no other kingdom in the world had such a hold upon 
her as France, where she passed her happy youth, and had 
Uie honour to wear the crown; but appropriate to this 
honour, it would hardly be becoming for her to return 
thither to fill a lower place, leaving her own country a 
prey to the factions by which it was rent ; and then as to 
the matter of dignity, she had high expectations from cer- 
tain suggestions about an alliance with Don Carlos, who 
would succeed to the great empire of Philip II. It was 
on this alliance that her mind was bent, for she spoke of 
it twice emphatically, in the midst of the slighting remarks 
in which she passed the others in review.^ 

She intrusted her secret foreign messenger Raulet, and 
one less known, called Chesein, to make for her those 
more full and confidential communications which she 
could not always trust on paper. ^ What remains of this 
correspondence shows that much more existed, and that 
there were many communications to her friends abroad, 
which she rather trusted to the spoken explanations of 
faithful agents than to letters. 

The fragmentary traces of her exertions in this cause 
give some insight into the extent of the system of secret 
communication with her friends on the Continent which 

* M^moires, liv. v. c. IL 

* See Labanoff g;enerally, down to 1564. Ch^ruel, 37. 


she had established Alava, the Spanish ambassador in 
France, is found writing repeatedly to Philip II. himself, 
in the year 1564 and in the early part of 1565, with state- 
ments how Beaton, the exiled Archbishop of Glasgow, 
whom he calls Queen Mar/s secretary, presses for a 
definitive determination from Madrid on the question 
whether the marriage is to be or not. On the 15th of 
March 1565, he communicates the assurance of Beaton 
that unless the King of Spain come to the rescue, she will 
be compelled to throw herself away on a cousin of her 
own — ^namely, Henry, Lord Damley ; audit is represented 
that she is deserted by her brother Murray, and driven by 
Queen Elizabeth to this undesirable union. A despatch 
of the 4th of June states that there is still time, for she is 
not yet married, and ardently desires the protection of the 
King of Spain. This last appeal was written seven weeks 
before her marriage.^ 

It is doubtful whether Queen Elizabeth, if she knew 
even that this project had been entertained, was aware 
how pertinaciously it was pressed. Knox, whose com- 
munications gave him means of accurate intelligence from 
the Continent, seems to have known something of what 
was going on, when he made those allusions to the 
queen's marriage which aroused her high displeasure. 
There is evidence that the ever vigilant Catherine of 
Medici had considerable knowledge of the affair, and con- 
tinued to be busily counterplotting. In letters written in 
cipher she earnestly pressed it on Bochetel, Bishop of 
Rennes, the French ambassador at the Emperor of Ger- 
many's Court, to defeat the Spanish match by pressing the 
proposal for Mar/s marriage with the Archduke Charles.^ 
She sent Castelnau to Britain professedly to arrange the 
project already referred to of a marriage between Mary 
and her son the Duke of Anjou, the brother of the King 
of France and of Mary's dead husband. It was on the 

^ Extraits des Correspondances de Don Frances de Alava, du 
Secretaire Agailon, &c., Ambassadeurs ou Charges d'Af&ires de 
Philippe II. en France de 1563 k 1587. — ^Teulet, vol. iii. leiseq, 

* Additions aux M^moires de Castelnau, liv. iii. 552* 



same mission that Castelnau was intrusted with the equally 
sincere proposal of a marriage between the young King of 
France and Elizabeth. 

This king himself was among the reputed expectants of 
the hand of Mary ; he is even said to have been deeply 
in love with her. Any project for their union, if it was 
ever really entertained at any time, had not vitality enough 
to call out the king's mother's active opposition, though 
her opinion against it is pretty clear She says the ru- 
mours about it were carried so far as to contain an assertion 
that the Pope's dispensation for a marriage so far within 
the forbidden degrees had been applied for, and was ex- 
pected to arrive ; but at the same time she says that this 
rumour was circulated for the purpose of concealing a 
project for manying the young king to a granddaughter of 
the emperor, and that the author of the rumour was the 
Eling of Spain, who sought in this manner to stop a mar- 
riage which would too closely unite France and the house 
of Hapsburg.i It is on the correspondence of the period, 
too, that, conscious how strongly the poor youth was at- 
tached to her, Mary threatened to accept him, in the hope 
that the threat would bring Philip II. to terms.^ 

Among the other Continental dignitaries not already 
named, who, by their own desire or the schemes of diplo- 
matists, were counted among the suitors for Queen Mary's 
hand, there were — the young Count of Orleans, of the 
house of Dunois, the nephew of her mother's first husband; 
the Duke of Nemours, of the house of Savoy; and the 
Duke of Ferrara. Greater than any of these was the 
young King of Denmark. The unhappy Eric, King of 
Sweden, was another competitor for her hand ; and his 
suit was pressed with considerable earnestness for nearly 
three years after her arrival in Scotland. His subsequent 
misfortunes were caused by personal defects, which were 
not likely to be considered in the estimate of his claim. 
Politically, such a union would have been the best that 
could be found for the Protestant party; and Queen 

^ Additions aux M^moires de Castelnau, liv. iii. 552. 
• Spanish Correspondence quoted, Mignet, i. 134. 


Elizabeth, if the affair had not been one about which 
female caprices and jealousies had got possession of her, 
would certainly have felt that a union between Scotland 
and a Protestant state fast rising into the position of a 
great European power was sound policy for the Protestant 
interest, and would have furthered the claims of the King 
of Sweden with her usual energy. Mary herself had, as 
we have seen, her own designs, to which it was not con- 
venient to attract attention by the peremptory rejection of 
other proposals, and the negotiation with Sweden was 
allowed barely to live until it exhausted itself. 

All this while there passed between the two queens ex- 
pressions of cordial sympathy and intimacy, Mary through- 
out leaning with seductive confidingness on the counsel 
of her royal sister in the serious affair of her marriage. It 
is observable, however, that among her many letters to 
Queen Elizabeth v«rhich have been preserved, none are in 
the genial easy spirit of her French letters written with 
her own hand to her friends abroad. Whether she could 
write in English or Scots at that time, is, as we have 
seen, questionable. The few letters to Elizabeth in 
French, and the much larger number in Scots, are 
drawn by secretaries, and only pass out of the etiquette 
of state papers to express the feeling of cordial attachment 
and sympathy which the draughtsman was instructed to 
throw into his communication. Throughout, in the midst 
of the most profuse professions of regard and confidence, 
Mary is firm on the one essential point between them — 
she will give no distinct assent or ratification to the treaty 
of Edinburgh ; and in the arrangements for their meeting, 
it was stipulated that " the said Queen of Scots shall not 
be pressed with anything she shall show herself to mislike, 
before that she be freely returned into her own realm."^ 
This meeting, which was never to be, went so far on the 
face of the negotiations that the French ambassador De 
Foix reported to Catherine of Medici how it was to be 
held at Nottingham on the 8th of September 1562. He 
wrote in great alarm, anticipating a cordial alliance be- 

^ LabanofT, I 152. 


tween the two queens, which would extinguish all remains 
of the ancient league between Fiance and Scotland, and 
give England such an increase of power as would probably 
soon be proved in the recapture of Calais.^ 

At the time we have reached, the great civil war had be- 
gun in which the Guises led the contest against the Hugue^ 
notSy as representing not only the interests of Catholicism 
but the throne itself, since the king was in their possession. 
Queen Elizabeth sent over troops to aid the Huguenots. 
Randolph officially communicated this act to Queen 
Mary, who received the information in sadness, but in 
candour and courtesy, saying she believed her uncles were 
true subjects of their prince, and did but execute their 
orders ; adding, that ^^ she was not so unreasonable as to 
condemn those who differed from her in opinion, still less 
was she inclined on their account to abate an)rthing of the 
friendship ^e felt for his mistress the Queen of England." 
The astute reporter of this scene assured Cecil, his master, 
in the end of December 1563, that Mary heard almost as 
seldom from France as the King of Muscovy.^ 

In fact, the gifted pupil of the Italianised French Court, 
under her winning smile and the bland courtesy which 
seemed also so full of candour, kept impenetrably hidden 
a subtle dissimulation, which was high art beside the 
clumsy cunning of Elizabeth and her English advisers, 
who could not rid themselves of the consciousness that 
they were doing what was uncongenial to British natures, 
and were ever apt to overact or otherwise bungle their 
part. At Holyrood the practised statesman felt secure in 
his communications with a woman, young, gentle, and in- 
experienced, whose weaknesses were a careless frivolity 
and too easy reliance on others. At Westminster the 
same practised statesman would have an uneasy consci- 
ousness that there was duplicity in the communication 
with him, though he might not be able to trace it home. 

In the course of the friendly messages between the 
two queens, which chiefly now bore on the question of the 
marriage, Sir James Melville was sent to Elizabeth. He 

':'A ToAlet, ii. 24. • Document quoted, P. F. Tytler, vi. 269. 


was a shrewd observer with a strong sense of the ludicrous, 
as well as an accomplished courtier ; and his account oif 
the attentions paid to him, the professions lavished on him, 
and the tricks, as they might be termed, to secure his 
confidence, is highly amusing. He was not for a moment 
deceived, and set down the whole as dissimulation and 
jealousy.^ His mission occurred at a curious juncture in 
the affair of the marriage, which gives a zest to his personal 
sketches of Darnley, Leicester, and other bystanders, as 
well as of Elizabeth herself. We are told how she stealth- 
ily shows him Leicester's picture, comparing the hand- 
some courtierly man it represents with "yonder long lad" 
the Lord Darnley, and drives the faithful courtier nearly 
frantic by determining to have his candid opinion on her 
own personal beauty as compared with that of his mistress. 
At his wits' end how to give her some honest praise, he 
had his opportunity at last, when it was managed that by 
chance he should hear her performing on the virginals, 
and pleaded that while wandering about "his ear was 
ravished with her melody, which drew him into the 
chamber he could scarcely tell how."^ 

Just before this visit Elizabeth had declared herself on 
the question of the marriage. She had objected to every 
claimant brought forward by others. Her position seemed 
unreasonable ; but when she changed it for a positive re- 
commendation, she only added amazement to the other 
misgivings and difficulties, by proposing her own favourite, 
Leicester. What did she mean by this ? — ^was it to ex- 
tinguish temptation by fixing a gulf between her, and one 
whom she loved not wisely, but too well ? Was it to shut 
the mouth of scandal, by a sort of protest that she was 
totally indifferent to him ? Was it a mere dash into the 
diplomatic proceedings about her royal sister's marriage, 
for the purpose of throwing them into confusion ? These 
are questions which those only who know what kind of 
sentiments may vibrate through such sinewy hearts as hers 
can profess to solve. 

The proposal scattered dismay among Elizabeth's sage 

1 Memoirs, 129. ' Ibid., 125. 


advisers, who wist not what to do. Leicester had been 
giving himself airs among them ; and though they might 
consider him a rash young man, whose intellect was in- 
flated by intoxicating draughts of regal caresses, yet some 
of the wisest of them covertly sought his goodwill, as that 
of the man who might some day soon be their master 
Randolph, in his confidential communings with Cecil; 
muttered his uneasiness in conjectures about "how un- 
willing the queen's majesty herself would be to depart fi:om 
him, and how hardly his mind could be diverted or drawn 
from that worthy room where it is placed, let any man 
see, where it cannot be thought but it is so fixed for ever 
that the world would judge worse of him than of any living 
man, if he should not rather yield his life than alter his 
thoughts."^ Murray seemed desirous of the match — at 
least he spoke well of it. Leicester himself seems to have 
been silent, awaiting his destiny at the hands of Elizabeth. 
Mary not having fallen in love with Leicester — ^whom, by 
the way, she never saw — did not abandon her ambitious 
projects of a great regal alliance; and after having slighted 
suitors who, if below her mark, were still royal, received 
the proposal to marry the upstart favourite of her rival 
with an angry disdain, which she could not or did not 
wish to conceal. Indeed she repeatedly brought it up 
and discussed it in voluble irritation with the perplexed 
Randolph. Was she, the widow of the greatest sovereign 
in Christendom, to mate with a mere subject of the English 
queen ? It was useless to say that a subject of Scotland 
had been gravely commended as a fitting match for 
Queen Elizabeth. That subject was of royal blood, and 
might become a sovereign — his father was then heir of the 
crown of Scotland, and it might be that the descendant of 
such a marriage should inherit both kingdoms — but what 
was Dudley ? Little better than a Court lackey, and re- 
markable in his descent only for the criminality of an an- 
cestor who belonged to the offensive and rapacious class 
called in Scripture publicans. There was an odd and some- 
thing like a diseased desire to hover about this proposal, 

^ Oootcd. Tytler. vL 288. 


offensive as it was, along with the question of the marriage 
generally. Wayward and capricious as her talk was, how- 
ever, it never touched her projects about foreign princes. 
Sometimes it would take a gloomy turn. She was sick of 
all projects for her disposal. Her heart was in the grave 
of her dead husband, and she took opportunity after op- 
portunity to show how dear he was to her memory. ^ 

People of strong passionate natures are often subject to 
reactionary influence, productive of depression, debility, and 
futile restlessness. In after-years, Queen Mary's nerves 
were more than once thus shattered, but the cause was 
then only too conspicuous to the world. For three months 
before her second marriage, the English resident's news- 
letters are disturbed by like symptoms from causes of irrita- 
tion and anxiety unknown. The death of her illustrious 
uncle, and the perilous position of the house of Guise ; 
the negotiations with Rome — hidden under a Protestant 
policy that might crush her if they were discovered ; her 
remorseless sacrifice of Huntly, the best friend to her 
Church and herself, — ^were items all-sufficient to frighten 
and unnerve the strongest nature Yet perhaps it was 
only that her vehement heart was not then occupied by 
any object of exclusive devotion. Repeatedly Randolph 
had to allude to her evident sufferings from some 
secret sorrow, and seemed to think that her days were 
numbered. At times she was so ill that he could not 
see her, however urgent his business. At others, she 
received him at long, bewildering, sorrowftil confer- 
ences at her bedside. Then suddenly she had taken 
horse and gone off" to Perth or St Andrews — on one 

^ '* On Saturday last she solemnly celebrated the obsequies of her hus- 
band. " — Randolph ; State Papers (Foreign), 1 563, p. 43$. * * She said 
that she had two jewels that must die with her, and wittingly shall never 
lie out of her sight, and showed him a ring which she said was her 
husband's" (617). In March 1564 '*he had long purpose with this 
queen, as well of her own estate as his sovereign's, touching their 
marriage. As for this queen, the remembrance of her late husband 
is so fiesh that she cannot think of any other. Her years are not so 
many but she may abide ; and that which is most of all, she is neither 
sought nor desired of any " (71). 


occasion to Dunbar, where there was still a French garri- 
son, and the resident suspected that she was on a perfidi- 
ous and dangerous mission.^ The resident's correspon 
dence at this period is rife with ominous rumours and 
unverified predictions. It has from this cause a sort of 
negative instructiveness, since it teaches us that afterwards, 
when a whole chapter of tragic events followed thickly on 
each other, we must not take for granted that every mys- 
terious hint or rumour finding its way into the ambassador's 
budget of news indicated an accurate foreknowledge of 
what was to come.' 

^ ** Touching this queen's going to Dunbar on Monday last to pass 
her time, immediately arose a bruit that two ships were arrived there 
that night, either that there was some nobleman come out of France, 
or that the queen, taking a despite against this country, would again 
into France ; and for that cans Martigues came to Calais to receive 
her and the ships to convey her. To augment this suspicion it was 
said that in the night there were conveyed out of the abbey four 
great chests ; and that she being on horseback said to Lord Morton, 
* God be with you, my Lord Morton ; I will bring you other novels 
when I come again. * The next day ct^eth the news that one of the 
two ships that are laden with artillery to come into Scotland was 
arrived at Dunbar, and the other was taken by the Englishmen. 
That night, Wednesday, sudden warning was given to all Murray's 
friends and servants in this town, to ride out and to lodge themselves 
about Dunbar, for that Bothwell was come secretly to speak with the 
queen with many horses, and that Murray, being without any com- 
pany, might perchance have fallen into some danger.*' — Calendar 
of State Papers (Foreign), 1564, p. 62. 

' The following about a mysterious banquet, of which I am' not 
aware that there is any other record, is a good specimen of this style of 
correspondence: "The banquet ensued hereupon. What devilish 
devices are imagined upon it, passes almost the wit of man to think. 
Little good some say is intended to some or other. The banquets 
made by her mother a little before she went about to suppress God's 
Word made at that season of the year, are called to mind — this was 
the Shrovetide before the troubles. News herewith comes that many 
sail of ships were coming out of France to land in Scotland ; this 
bruit had almost spilt the whole potage. This confirmed all the rest 
that no good was intended to the poor Protestants, nor amity to be 
kept with England. To what end are all these banquets? For the 
space of twelve or fourteen days together, every nobleman had his 
day about, and the Lord of Lethington excelled all save the queen. 
But while they pipe and dance, their enemies shall land and they have 
iheir throats cut. I was content to let this rumour run, so &r as no 


Dudley had just received the title, by which he is best 
known, of Earl of Leicester ; and Cecil commending him to 
Murray and Lethington shows how, " First, he is of noble 
birth and void of all evil conditions that somethnes are 
heritable to princes, and in goodness of nature and rich- 
ness of good gifts, comparable to any prince, and much bet- 
ter than a great sort now living. He is an Englishman, 
and so meet to carry with him the consent of this nation 
to accord with theirs. He is also signally esteemed of the 
queen, so that she thinks no good turn or fortune greater 
than may be well bestowed upon him. And for his 
degree at this time, he is already an earl of this realm, and 
she will give him the highest degree." Behind this and 
other commendations on the part of English statesmen, 
there lies the question whether they spoke in the hearty 
desire to give effect to the wishes of their mistress, or were 
anxious to remove from her an object of temptation and a 
cause of scandal. It was no doubt by the order of their 
mistress that they became anxiously diplomatic as to what 
she would do in support of Mary's claim to succeed her on 
the throne of England. Through a hazy mist of words, 
however, there never comes the direct promise to ac- 
knowledge Mary as the nearest heir of Elizabeth. " She 
will cause inquisition to be made " in the matter, and so 
far as shall stand with justice and her own security, Queen 
Elizabeth " shall remove all things prejudicial to her sister's 
interest," &c.^ 

An event of a simple character breaks in upon the vari- 
ous negotiations and intrigues for providing Mary with a 
husband, when the tall stature and fresh bo3dsh face of a 
foolish youth settled the matter by love at first sight. It 
was at Wemyss Castle, a weather-beaten fortress on a rock 
rising from the northern coast of the Firth of Forth, that 

suspicion could be gathered of the queen that I was a mover of it. 
What men expected to have found among so many secret banqueting 
dishes, or what we remember of like banqueting, and what parts had 
been used at such times, it skills not how little is spoken.** — Randolph 
to Cecil, 2ist February 1564; Scots MS. I, Rolls house. It is 
rendered very nearly word for word in the Calendar. 
* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 264, 


Mary first saw her cousin, Henry Stewart, Lord Damley, 
about the middle of February 1565. He had just come 
from England to join his father, *and finding the queen 
absent fi"om Edinburgh on one of her many progresses, he 
took the privilege of a relation to push on and visit her. 
They had no sooner met than the many keen eyes that 
watched the young widow and the handsome youth saw 
what was to be.^ 

The meeting was no mere accident, though Mary does 
not appear to have furthered or expected it The young 
man*s birth placed him naturally within the view of those 
who busied themselves about the disposal of her hand. 
He was of a family which had branched oflf from the pld 
Stewart stock before it became royal, and several early 
intermarriages connected his ancestry with the reigning 
line of the family. His connection with the throne of 
Scotland followed that of the house of Hamilton. He was 
more closely allied to the English throne, since his mother, 
Margaret Douglas, was a daughter of Henry VIII.'s sister 
Margaret, the widow of James IV., by her marriage with 
Angus. According to the rules of strict lineal descent, 
Mary was at that time heir to the crown of England, as 
the child of Margaret's son, and he was next after her 
in succession as the descendant of Margaret's daughter. 
He was the nearest prince of the blood in Queen Eliza- 
beth's Court, and Sir James Melville saw him take that 

^ It is unexpected to find Randolph announcing to Leicester of all 
men the arrival and propitious reception of Darmey. He writes on 
the 19th of February, ** His courteous dealing with all deserves great 
praise and is well spoken of." Going to meet the queen, as his own 
horses had not come, Randolph supplied him, and ** upon Friday he 
passed over the water, and on Saturday he met with the (meen, where 
he heard that he was welcomed and honourably used. He lodged in 
the same house that she did for that time, and this day repairs towards 
his father."— Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 301. Then on the 
27th there is some curiously-mixed gossip sent to Cecil Damley * * has 
been with him, and came again to the queen, at her coming over the 
Queen's ferry upon Saturday last." Yesterday he and Damley dined 
with Murray. ** His behaviour is liked, and there is great praise of 
him." Accompanying Murray ** he heard Mr Knox preach ;" and on 
the evening of the same day, as it would seem, "he being required 
by Murray, danced a galiarde with the queen." — Ibid., 305. 

THE LENNOX FAMILY, 1564-65. I07 

place in one of the ceremonials of Leicester's promotion. 
There was much parade, and some difficulty, about his 
father, Lennox, obtaining leave to visit Scotland about his 
personal affairs, as if both Elizabeth and the other parties 
concerned felt that there was something more in view than 
the mere object avowed.^ It was with the becoming and 
very natural profession of joining his father that the young 
Damley visited the queen, and at once found himself on the 
summit of fortune's wheel Elizabeth professed herself ex- 
tremely indignant that two of her subjects should have 
taken the opportunity of their leave of absence to transact 
business so important. 

Queen Elizabeth on this occasion showed herself abso- 

^ In September and October the English resident sees distinctly 
the sunshine of Court favour turning in 3ie direction of the house of 
Lennox. On the 23d of September, "by the queen's command, 
Lennox (who had newly arrived) was welcomed. On Sunday the 
earl kept his house quiet, and at night banqueted the four Marys. 
On the 25th, the queen being present, it was agreed that Lennox 
should be restored.** On the 24th of October he tells how ** on Sun- 
day there was married a daughter of the Justice Clerk [Sir John Bel- 
lenden] three miles from Edinburgh, where the most of the ladies were. 
After dinner thither went the queen and the four Marys, to do honour to 
the bride. She returned that night, and supped witn Lennox and the 
writer also. In the midst of her supper she drank to Queen Elizabeth, 
adding these words * de bon coeur. ' That night she danced long and in 
a mask ; and playing at dice lost Lennox a jewel of crystal set in gold. 
. . . The queen is determined to accord the Earl of Lennox and the 
duke. Much talk there is to what end all this favour showed to Len- 
nox tends. He is well friended of Lethington, who, it is now thought, 
will bear much with the Stewarts for the love he bears to Mary Flem- 
3mge "—one of the * * four Marys " whom Lethington married. Lennox 
was a rich man from his English estates, and he let his wealth be felt 
in splendid and munificent living. ** His cheer is great and his house- 
hold many, though he has despatched divers of his train away. He 
finds occasions to disburse money very fast, and of his £*joo that he 
brought with him is sure that much is not left. He gave the queen 
a marvellous fair and rich jewel, whereof there is made no small ac- 
count, a clock, and a dial curiously wrought and set with stones, and 
a looking-glass very richly set with stones in the four metals ; to Leth- 
ington a very fair diamond in a ring, to the Earl of Athol another, 
as also to his wife he knows not what ; to divers others somewhat, 
but to Murray nothing. He presented also each of the Marys pretty 
thin^. The bruit is here that Lady Lennox and Lord Damley are 
coming." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 213, 228-23a 


lute both in word and deed in treating the Lennox familv 
— father, mother, and son — as her subjects bound to obe- 
dience. We have seen the foundation of this claim in 
the father's assurance to Henry VIII.^ He was endowed 
with new domains in England, and the Estates of Scotland 
passed on him an act of forfeiture, which they todk the 
opportunity of his return, under conditions so altered, 
to revoke. It is useless to ask how far Queen Elizabeth 
was entitled by the letter of the law to the authority she 
so ineffectually claimed — the question might involve any 
amount of discussion, both on the preliminary point of the 
naturalisation to England of the Lennox family, and on 
the amount of regal control over their motions involved 
by their being English subjects. But it may be noted 
that, had the marriage been taken up by the Government 
of England as a state question, in which it was strong 
enough to interpose, there would have been a ready justi- 
fication at hand, in the great secret that was never, unless 
in cases of necessity, to be heard on the north side of the 
border — the claim of feudal superiority over Scotland, be- 
lieved, on the authority of document' unquestioned, to be 
vested in the crown of England. We have seen how Cecil 
deliberated over a beneficent use of this power. After- 
wards we shall find how it was thought necessary on the 
part of England to assert it — but parenthetically, as it were 
— in a critical conference between English and Scots states 
men. With this right in the English crown, if the English 
crown should become strong enough to exercise the right, 
the marriage of Mary with Damley would have been an 
aflfair between two vassals who must take their orders fi*om 
the sovereign of England. 

Practically this question did not come up — there were 
others more immediately urgent and critical. There was 
more than one discussion by the Council of England, and 
at last they found in the objections to the marriage a 
plea for an object they had at heart, and a plea all the 
stronger that Queen Elizabeth had herself started the ob- 
jections. They approached their object gradually. They 

^ See chap. xxxv. 


drew attention to the menacing combinations among the 
Popish powers. They connected with these symptoms how 
Mary and her husband the King of France had claimed 
the crown of England, and had persistently refused or 
evaded the ratification of the treaty abjuring that claim. 
They looked nearer home, and found too closely in coin- 
cidence with these, other special causes of alarm ; as, for 
instance, " in perusing of the substance of the justices of 
the peace in all the counties of the realm, scantly a third 
part was found fully assured to be trusted in the matter of 
religion, upon which only thing hangs the title of the Queen 
of Scots. The Mends of Lennox and Damley had more 
knowledge hereof than was requisite, and they made a 
vaunt now in Scotiand that their party was so great in 
England as the queen dare not attempt to contrary this 
marriage." Then came the remedy for the danger in an 
urgent argument on the text, " that it was necessary to 
obtain that the queen should marry with no long delay." ^ 

To Murray and the Protestant lords the crisis was now 
approaching, and they felt it. Damley belonged to the 
Church of Rome, and thus the question, which religious 
party should have the influence of the queen's husband on 
its side, was coming to a determination. Matters might 
have been much worse ; and few people either in England 
or Scotland then knew the imminent risk, that the most 
powerful monarch of the day, who was at the same time 
the most ardent champion of the Popedom, might have a 
legitimate right to dictate to Scotland. The Protestant 
lords felt, however, that in the prospect of the marriage 
the queen was showing the flag of her true party. 

Murray resolved at this juncture to try his strength in a 
form which suggests strange associations with subsequent 
events — he tried it not against Damley himself, but against 
Bothwell, who had just returned from France, where he 
had sought refuge from the criminal charge already spoken 
of. That charge Murray now urged against him — it was 
the same strange plot against the queen in which he had 
the mad Arran as his confidant and denouncer. 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 385. 


The indictment against Bothwell for high treason came 
up for trial on the 2d of May 1565, before the Earl Argyle 
as Lord Justice-General, one of Murray's supporters. It 
is one of the most remarkable instances on record of a 
judicial proceeding being turned into a trial of party 
strength, yielding only in this characteristic to another and 
more memorable trial to which Bothwell was called. 
Finding his enemy too strong for him, he disappeared and 
was outlawed. Randolph reported the triumphant sup- 
port given to Murray in these terms : " The company 
that came to this town in favour of my Lord of Murray 
are esteemed five or six thousand, and for my part I assure 
your honour I never saw a greater assembly." It was put 
on the record of the trial at Bothwell's instance that he 
" dare not compear for fear of his life at this time and 
place, by reason of the great convention of his enemies 
and unfriends.*' 1 Thus, though his power was tottering, 
Murray found and showed that he still ruled in Scotland. 
The terms in which Randolph continues his letter are 
curious and significant, as the first traces noted by a con- 
temporary on the spot of the queen's partiality for Both- 
well — yet what the agent meant to convey was probably 
rather the evidence of her antipathy to Murray. " The 
queen," he says, " has shown herself now of late to mis- 
like of Murray that he so earnestly pursued him" — 
namely, Bothwell ; " and further, the queen would not 
that the justice-clerk should proceed, which hath bred 
here so mighty mislike, and given occasion to such kind 
of talk against her grace for bearing with such men in her 
own cause, that that which is already spoken passeth all 
measure. So many discontented, so large talk, so plain 
and open speech, I never heard in any nation ; and, in my 
simple judgment, see not but it must burst out to some 
great mischief.^ These sentences, which, estimated by 
the light of subsequent events, seem inspired by the 
spirit of prophecy, are but Randolph hinting, with the 
proper technical mysteriousness, that Murray is going 
down, and a new ruling influence arising in Scotland. 

* Pitcaim, i. 464*. * Raumer, 46. 

RISE OF RIZZIO, 1564-65. Ill 

It is at this juncture that another remarkable actor in 
the tragic events to come appears on the stage — David 
Rizzio, the Italian. As he is never spoken of among his 
contemporaries except either in contempt or hatred, it is 
difficult to know his social position and his personal quali- 
ties. He certainly had not that distinction of birth which 
would enable him to refer to his family as one publicly 
known for its eminence. But people seldom asked about 
the family of any of the Italians, so numerously scattered 
among the European Courts : they were gentlemen at least 
by training and education, and able by their subtle talents 
to hold their own place among the local feudal aristocracy. 
Buchanan, to whom we owe nearly all that is known of 
his early history, says he was a native of Turin, and came 
to Scotland in the train of Morette, or Moretti, the Pied- 
montese ambassador, who arrived in the year 1561, and 
that he entered the queen's service as a musician, being a 
skilful singer and performer. ^ Some writers on the his- 
tory of Scots mu?ic have suggested, but on no better 
foundation than his reputed skill, that he may have been 
the author of the old melodies so much loved by natives 
and admired by strangers. That he was old, deformed, 
and strikingly ugly, has been generally accepted by his- 
torians, but is not said of him by either Knox or 
Buchanan, both of whom had opportunities of seeing him, 
and were not inclined to forget anything likely to render 
him odious. The common notion of his personal appear- 
ance seems to have been derived from the account of 
Adam Blackwood, who is very unlikely to have ever seen 
him ; but it is a matter of no real moment in the events 
with which the poor man was connected. 

It is more important to correct another common sup- 
position, that Mary advanced him to high offices of state. 
Such an act might seem naturally a continuation of the 
practice established under Mary of Lorraine as regent ; 
but the two things are, when examined, very different 
Rizzio was at best a man who had to find his own liveli- 
hood, employed at what his services were worth to his 

^ Buchanan, xvii. 44. See Teulet, H. 5<^ 76- 


employer; the foreigners promoted by the regent were 
Frenchmen of high rank sent to Scotland to carry out the 
French projects of domination. There can be no doubt, 
however, that the Italian was very valuable to the queen, 
and very powerful. Knox seems accurately to describe 
his official position in saying, "The queen usit him for 
secretary in things that appertainit to her secret affairs in 
Prance or elsewhere."^ 

A skilful person, versed in foreign languages, on whom 
she could rely, was extremely valuable to her at this time. 
Some other persons flit casually across her own corre- 
spondence, and the other letters of the period, in the same 
capacity. One, named Chesein, carries despatches to her 
Guise relations and other correspondents, and is also in- 
trusted with verbal communications.^ A man called 
Yaxley — an Englishman apparently, who had been secre- 
tary to the Council in the reign of Edward VI. — ^was sent 
on a special mission to the Netherlands, where, through 
the Duchess of Arschot, he communicated with the 
Duchess of Parma, the regent, who thought his communi- 
cations so important that she passed him on to delivei 
them at the Court of Spain. This man seems to have been 
a babbler, who boasted of his diplomatic services and his 
influence, and there is no trace of his having been again 
employed. His revelations were reported to Elizabeth, 
who founded on them in her complaints of the risk she 
incurred from the machinations of Mary.* Another of her 
emissaries was David Chambers, a follower of Bothwell, a 
scholar and an author, who had studied and served abroad, 
knew the politics and the customs of most European 
states, and had no scruples. 

The French ambassador mentions an Italian, Francisque,* 
her maUre tPhdid, as one of her confidential advisers ; but 
the one who, next to Rizzio, seems to have been deepest 
in her counsels, was named Raulet. He was in the Low 
Countries transacting business with the Spanish authorities 
at this juncture, while Beaton represented her in France. 
Rizzio then was virtually her secretary for the foreign 

* Knox, il 422. * Labanoif, i. 200^ 209. > Teulet, ii. 53, 84. 


afi^irs, in relation to which these were her emissaries or 
ambassadors.^ There was serious business in hand for 
them all, since the crisis was approaching which found 
Mary a member of the Catholic League. It is part of the 
m)rstery, however, of the poor Italian's history, that, 
though he was thus deeply occupied in politics, scarcely 
any traces of his movements have survived. He is 
not referred to so frequently as Raulet and Chesein in 
the correspondence before his death. There is scarcely 
a known document under his hand, and it has been diffi- 
cult to identify his signature. 

It was rumoured at the time that the Italian did his 
best to forward the marriage with Damley. Such a course 
was natural; it would unite duty with self-interest. 
Damley belonged to " The Church/* and so the claims 
of religion were satisfied. He was not a man likely to 
govern without help, and supersede the queen's adviser; 
while under any great foreign potentate Rizzio might have 
been nobody. It was well, too, if other objects did not 
preponderate, to keep favour by giving the advice most 
agreeable to his patroness. 

On the rsth of May 1565, a special council or assembly 
of great feudal lords and officers of state was held at Stir- 
ling. It was not a Parliament, nor was it a meeting of 
the Secret Council. There is no authentic list of those 
present, nor are there the means of ascertaining the crite- 
rion on which they were selected. It is stated, however, 
that among those present were Hamilton, Duke of Chatel- 
herault, always called "The Duke," with the Lords of 
Athole, Ruthven, Morton, Glencaim, Lindsay, Rothes, 
Glammis, Semple, Boyd, and several others high in feudal 
influence. Murray was present ; but singularly enough, 
considering the business to be transacted, the name of 
Lennox does not occur on the lists. ^ To this assemblage 
Mary announced her intended marriage with Damley. A 
curious incident happened outside the castle, where the 
meeting was held. Throckmorton, coming post from 

1 Ibid., 76 ; Labanoff, i. 200, 202. 

2 Keith (8vo edition), ii. 280. 

VOL. IV, « 


England to argue and protest against the proceedings 
which were to take place that day, arrived at the gate of 
Stirling Castle while the lords were assembled. Thoi^ 
he had sent his cousin Middlemore before him to demand 
an audience, he found the gate shut, and a deaf ear given 
to all his demands and prayers for admission. He was 
obliged to seek his own lodging in the town, whence he 
was afterwards called by ti^e queen to an audience.^ 
After his audience was over, Darnley was created Lord of 
Ardmanach and Earl of Ross, as steps to the rank he was 
presently to be lifted to. This earldom, bringing down 
the traditions of the old Maarmorate, was, as we have seen, 
reserved as a title to the royal family, after the manner in 
which the French monarchy reserved for the princes of 
the blood the titles of the royal fiefs which were from time 
to time annexed to the crown. 

Difficulties were now thickening round Murray and the 
Protestant party. The Lennox family recovered their 
great feudal power in the west. In the north the Gordons, 
being left for some time unmolested, were gathering up 
the fragments of their old authority. Other men of influ- 
ence, who were secret Eomanists or but doubtful Protest- 
ants — Si body larger among the aristocracy than the Refor- 
mation party — now found that they could act according 
to their inclinations or interests without danger. There 
was but one reliance for the Reformation party — ^that 
England would come to the rescue. The opportunity for 
carrying out the policy begim by Henry VIII., and estab- 
lishing an English supremacy supported by Protestantism 
in Scotland, had never been so good as now, when two 
parties, hating each other, and each in fear of extirpation 
by the other, were trembling in the balance. The oppor- 
tunity was so good that the Protestant party in Scotland 
seemed not to doubt that it would be seized. Elizabeth's 
advisers thought so too, and felt provoked as the time for 
action slipped past. Randolph, in his impatience, pressed 
it on Cecil that if troops were not to be sent, money alone, 
and but little of that, might accomplish great things, 

* Keith (8vo edition), ii. ^580 


"A little now spent in the beginning affordeth double 
fruit. What were it for the queen's majesty, if she list not 
to do it by force, with the expense of three or four thou- 
sand pounds, to do with this country what she would ? '* ^ 

Elizabeth, however, was sullenly immovable. She had 
protested in various forms against the marriage, and even 
by some stretch of the law had got the only member 
of Damley's family left in England — his mother. Lady 
Lennox— committed to the Tower. She had even ob- 
tained resolutions by the English Council condemnatory 
of the marriage, as a matter affecting an English subject 
of the blood-royal and the succession of the crown of 
England. But there were reasons why the Queen of 
England's opposition should be limited to mere words. 
The marriage was, on the whole, not unsatisfactory. It 
was to the two queens what an act of folly or imprudence 
is in ordinary life — rivals and competitors must for 
decency's sake protest against it, but are not sincerely 
vexed at heart to hear of a fall which will substitute pity for 
rivalry. If, when the Armada was at last in the Channel, 
Elizabeth knew and remembered how near, to ail human 
appearance, her rival had been to the throne of Spain, she 
must have more fully estimated the peril escaped by Eng- 
land and Protestantism in the advancement of her worth- 
less cousin. 

The profession of amity, however, between the two 
queens was kept up, and, on Mary's side at least, with 
great skill o the last. She commissioned Lethington, 
who was in England, to press for Elizabeth's approval of 
the marriage. That rather self-willed and tortuous states- 
man, however, had his own views, and resolved to pursue 
them. He was on his way back to Scotland, probably 
alarmed at the course of matters there, when he met 
Beaton, Mar/s messenger, at Newark, and finding his 
worst fears confirmed by the instructions sent to him, in- 
stead of returning to London, joined Throckmorton, the 
ambassador sent from England to remonstrate with Mary j 
and, like the other chiefs of the Protestant party, consulted 

* Quoted, Tytler, vi. 344. 


with him how to thwart the mairiage.^ She sent after- 
wards John Hay, commendator of Bahnerinoch, called 
also her ** principal master of requests," with instructions 
dated 14th June 1565, in which she professed an anxiety 
to conciliate Elizabeth, and obtain her approval of the 
now arranged marriage^ 

It was necessary, however, that professions of amity 
between the sovereigns should cease ; and Randolph, who 
had the disagreeable part of the discussion on his hands, 
was the first to feel the change. Writing to Leicester on 
the 5th of February 1564, he says in his simplicity, " It 
may please your lordship to imderstand that this queen is 
now content to give good ear unto the queen's majesty's 
suit in yoiu:behal£" Blandly satisfied about his reception 
in Scotland, he continues : "Greater entertainment or 
greater honour could not be done to the greatest ambas- 
sador that the queen's majesty could have sent unto this 
queen than was done to me at St Andrews. For four 
dajrs together I dined and supped daily at her grace's 
table. I sat next unto herself (saving worthy Beton, our 
mistress). I had longer talk and conference with her than 
any other during the time ; enough, I assure your lord- 
ship, if I were able to report all, can make all the ill- 

^ By ITirockmorton's own account, " I^thington had also commis- 
sion after bis charge done in England to repair into France, and there 
make the French king and that state to allow of her choice ; and the 
rather to move Lethington to take legations, she sent him a bill of credit 
to the receivers of her dowry in France, to disburse unto him what 
money he would ask, and to spare for no cost , And to incite him to this 
voyage she wrote him the most favourable and gentle letter with her 
own hand that ever queen did write to her servant, not leaving behind 
large promises for his benefit and greatness in time to come. Not- 
wimstanding this charge and enchantment he would neither return to 
London nor yet into France, but pursued Throckmorton, and over- 
took him at Alnwick, whence both journeyed to Edinburgh." — Calen- 
dar of State Papers (Foreign), 361. This "favourable and gentle letter" 
unfortunately is not in any of the Marian collections, nor have we 
another paper telling her reasons for following her own inclination 
and will, instead of the dictation of others, though we may believe the 
concise description by Throckmorton who had a glimpse of it, that 
in it "there wanted neither eloquence, despite, anger, love, nor 
passion." — (Ibid.) 

* Keith, iL 293 ; LabanofT, i. 271 ; Teulet, ii 56. 


willers to both these queens' felicities to burst asunder 
for envy."^ Afterwards, on the 2d of July, when he had 
been, partly with persuasion and partly with threat, 
urging Damley to go back like an obedient subject to 
England, and thereupon craved audience of the queen, 
" I was received," he says, " in stranger sort than ever I 
was before, as a man new and first come into her presence, 
whom she had never seen."^ So far as the Court was 
concerned, the English connection might now be con- 
sidered at an end. The Court of France was not in a 
position to exercise its old influence in Scotland; but 
when the civil conflicts were over and the Guises supreme, 
the French alliance might be expected to revive with 
renewed vigour. 

It is stated in Knox's History and elsewhere that the 
queen strove hard to persuade Murray to assent to the 
marriage. His determined refusal was the key-note to the 
views of those who still adhered to the Protestant party. It 
had been intended to hold a Parliament at Perth, and there 
solemnly desire the assent of the Estates of Scotland to 
the union ; but the position taken up by Murray and his 
friends suggested that it would be the safer policy to evade 
a Parliament, as its concurrence could not be calculated 
on, and discussions of which no one could foresee the 
restdt might arise from bringing together parties fiercely 

A General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh at the time 
when it was intended that the Parliament should have met 
at Perth, aflbrded in the mean time a sort of rall)ring-point 
for the more zealous of the Protestant party. This meet- 
ing had been preceded by a local event of an exciting 
nature. It had becfome the practice to expect a scufile 
with the followers of the old religion during their Easter 
celebrations. It is related in Kjqox's History how some 
of the brethren, " diligent to search such things," having 
with them one of the bailies of Edinburgh, " took one Sir 
John Carvet, riding hard, as he had now ended the say- 

^ Wright's Queen Elizabeth, i. 188. 
* Tetter to Cecil, Keith, il 298. 


ing of the mass, and conveyed him, together with the 
master of the house and one or two more of the assistants, 
to the Tolbooth, and immediately revested him, with all 
his garments upon him, and so carried him to the market- 
cross, where they set him on high, binding the chalice to 
his hand, and himself fast tied to the said cross, where he 
tarried the space of one hour, during which time the boys 
served him with his Easter eggs. The next day following, 
the said Carvet, with his assistants, were accused and con- 
vinced by an assize, according to the Act of Parliament ; 
and albeit for the same offence he deserved death, yet for 
all punishment he was set upon the market-cross for the 
space of three or four hours, the hangman standing by 
and keeping him, the boys and others busy with egg- 

Then arose a tumult in which the poor priest might 
have fared still worse, but the provost coming with the 
town guard carried him back to the Tolbooth. The 
magistrates received a royal letter, calling on them to pro- 
secute the rioters, and altogether in a more peremptory 
tone than any of the previous communications from the 
queen in matters where her own religion was concerned. 
The priest was released, and the matter went no further. 

This was felt, however, as a heavy grievance by the 
Protestant clergy, and helped with many other things to 
strengthen the zeal with which they met in General 
Assembly, in the Nether Tolbooth, on the 25th of June 
1565. They resolved, in the first place, "that the papist- 
ical and blasphemous mass, with all papistry and idolatry 
of Palp's jurisdiction, be universally suppressed and 
abolished throughout the haill realm, not only in the sub- 
jects, but in ti^e queen's majesty's own person, with 
punishment against all persons that shall be deprehended 
to transgress and offend the same ; and that the sincere 
Word of God and His true religion now presently received 
might be established, approven, and ratified throughout 
the whole realm, as well in the queen's majesty's owb 
person as in the subjects, without any impediment" * 

1 Knox, ii. 476. « Book of the Universal Kirk. 



It was further proposed that there should be a certain 
amount of compulsory attendance at worship by Act of 
Parliament. The Assembly took the opportunity to urge 
that the large ecclesiastical revenues otherwise disposed of, 
under the arrangement made in 1563, should be transferred 
to the Protestant Church. Five members of the Assembly 
were appointed to present these " articles " to the queen ; 
and it is observable that they were all, though worshipful 
gentlemen, persons of little note in the history of the 
period, as if the presentation were a mere form, and not 
an agreeable one. The five commissioners were — ^Walter 
Lundie of Lundie, in Fifeshire ; William Cunningham of 
Cunninghamhead, in Ayrshire; William Durham of 
Grange, in Forfarshire ; George Hume of Spot, in Ber- 
wickshire ; and James Barron, burgess of Edinburgh.* 

These commissioners went to the queen at Perth, and 
waited on her, '' desiring and requiring her highness most 
humbly to advise therewith, and to give them an answer." 
Having retired to their quarters, expecting next morning 
to be summoned to receive the answer, they found that 
the queen had slipped out of their hands and gone to 
Dunkeld. Thither they followed her. They obtained 
audience, and were told by the queen that she required 
the advice of her Council in the matter, but that she pro- 
posed in a week to be in Edinburgh, and then they would 
get answer. 

The answer, in as far as it has been preserved, exem- 
plifies a peculiar distinction in practice between the two 
great creeds — that Roman Catholics, when not predomi- 
nant, profess principles of toleration ; while among Cal- 
vinistic Protestants, the time when they have least power 
is that in which they profess their most intolerant doctrines. 
She assured her loving subjects that as she had not in 
times past, so would she not hereafter, " press the consci- 
ence of any, but that they may worship God in such sort 
as they are persuaded in their conscience to be best." 
She meekly desired the same toleration for her own con- 
science. But even in this placid document there were 

^ Knox, ii. 4S6, Laing's note. 


suggestive allusions to the quarter to which the queen was 
then looking for strength and support, and it was not one* 
from which the principles of toleration were likely to 
radiate. Among the reasons why she must adhere to her 
religion was, that by apostasy "she should lose the friend- 
ship of the King of France — the married ally of this realm 
— ^and of other great princes her friends and confederates, 
who could take the same in evil part, and of whom she 
may look for their great support in all her difficulties." 
The abandonment of the ecclesiastical revenues, so far 
as they were in the possession of the crown, was civilly 

It appears to have crossed the thoughts of the more 
zealous members of the Assembly in the mean time to 
organise an armed resistance ; for we are told that they 
assembled on St Leonard's Craig, a small rocky eminence 
between Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat, " where they con- 
cluded they would defend themselves ; and for the same 
purpose elected eight persons of the most able, two of 
every quarter, to see that the brethren should be ready 
armed." ^ Four burgesses were cited to answer for this 
affair ; but the prosecution, of which this was the prelimi- 
nary step, seems to have been abandoned.® This inci- 
dent was supposed to be connected with the designs of 
Murray, who was then in his mother's Castle of Lochleven, 
ill, or pretending to be so. The queen was living at Perth, 
where the Parliament was to be held. She had promised 
to attend the christening of the Lord Livingstone's heir at 
Callander House, near Falkirk, and was prepared to ride 
thither in company with Damley. They started together, 
with a strong escort, at an early hour, and reached Callan- 
der by ten o'clock ; and the reason assigned for the feat 
was, that thus they ^voided an ambush, to be laid by 
Murray and his confederates, to attack and seize them at 
a point where the road passed through a rugged defile of 
the Ochils. The elements of the conspiracy have been 
very distinctly set forth. Murray himself held Lochleven 

' Knox, ii. 4S8, 489. * Ibid., 487. 

' Ibid., 490, Laing's note. 


Castle, on the line of their journey ; the Earl of Argyle 
was to descend with a force from his fortress of Castle 
Campbell, on the brow of the Ochils ; and the Duke of 
Chatelherault had made his preparations at Kinneil, near 
to the ferry where the betrothed lovers would cross the 
Forth. It would not be difficult to believe in such a con- 
spiracy, if tolerably well vouched ; but there is scarcely a 
vestige of evidence in its support.^ Murray, on his part, 
maintained that his life was in danger, and kept himself 
among his own immediate supporters. He was summoned 
to Court, and offered a safe-conduct for himself and eighty 
attendants ; but he declined to appear — ^he was making 
arrangements for armed resistance. To prepare for a 
crisis, a royal summons was issued on the 2 2d of July, for 
a " raid " or general gathering of the crown vassals and 
their attendants. 

The marriage of the queen and Damley, who had just 
been created Duke of Albany, was celebrated on the 29th 
of July 1565. It was preceded by a Papal dispensation, 
on account of affinity in blood, and the ceremony was 
performed according to the office of the Romish Church. 
The queen, following the etiquette of a widow of France, 
wore her solemn state mourning dress, or dule robe, untU 
the festival after the ceremony, when, as a wedded wife, 
she cast it off, and put on gayer attire. At the festival 
the ceremonials were imitated from the French Court, 
which was foremost in the practice of exacting menial ser- 
vices to the person of royalty from subjects of the highest 
rank. Lord Athole served as sewer, Morton as carver, 
and Crawford as cupbearer.^ 

^ See aU that can be said for it in Chalmers, i 140 ; Tytler, vl 
349 ; Miss Strickland, iv. 148. 
* Randolph's Letter, in Wright, i. 202, and elsewhere. 





The world has been so accustomed to treat this marriage 
as a rash love-match, that what political significance it 
had is overlooked. This was far less momentous than 
the questions which a union with Spain or France might 
have raised, but it was not without importance. Damle/s 
mother did not forget that she, like Elizabeth, was a 
granddaughter of Henry VII., with this difference, ac- 
cording to the notion of herself and her religious party, 
that she was not, like the woman on the throne, tainted 
with illegitimacy.^ 

^ For an animated account of the little opposition court presided 
over by Ladj Lennox, in Yorkshire, see Froude, vii. 387, 389. 


The new sovereigns began their reign with measures of 
successful vigour, which seemed to promise a strong and 
orderly government under the old religion and the old 
regal authority. A portion of the Protestant barons, in- 
cluding Murray, Glencaim, Rothes, and Kirkcaldy of 
Grange, resolved to combine against the new order of 
things. They stated that the laws against idolatry were 
not enforced, and that the mass and other abominations 
were tolerated. They stated, further, that the true reli- 
gion was oppressed ; and though this was not according to 
strict fact, unless the countenance given to Popery were 
to be set down as oppression, yet it is plain that Protest- 
antism was in imminent danger ; for the queen and her 
supporters were as fully determined to suppress Heresy 
whenever they were able, as Knox and his party were to 
suppress Idolatry. But there were other grounds for op- 
position of a constitutional character. The queen had 
not ventured to face a Parliament, and ask their sanction 
to her late doings. She had not only taken to herself a 
husband without consulting the great Council of the nation 
— an indecorous and ungracious thing — ^but she had pro- 
claimed her husband as King of the Scots. It was main- 
tained that this was illegal, since the monarch reigned by 
the assent of the Estates of the realm, and could not trans- 
fer any portion of the sovereign power to another without 
the intervention of these Estates. The power asserted by 
the Estates in such constitutional matters was very wide, 
and there was at least no precedent to support a denial of 
the claim in question. The portion of the declaration 
issued by the discontented barons at Dumfries which re- 
fers to this matter is extremely valuable, as one of the few 
lights, other than what the acts of the Estates themselves 
give us, on the constitutional power claimed for the Par- 
liament of Scotland. They say — 

" Of the same sinister counsel doth proceed that her 
majesty, without the advice of her Estates, yea, without 
the advice of the nobility either demanded or given, hath 
made and proclaimed a king over us, giving unto him, so 
far as in her highness lieth, power over our lands, lives, 
and heritages,and whatsoever is dearest unto us on the earth. 


In the which doing the ancient laws and liberties of this 
realm are utterly broken, violated, and transgressed, and 
the liberty of the crown and state royal of Scotland mani- 
festly overthrown, that he was made king over us that 
neither hath the title thereof by any lineal descent of 
blood and nature, neither by consent of the Estates."^ 
It was afterwards put by Cecil to the French ambassador 
Le Croc, as a justification of the conduct of Elizabeth, 
that the assumption of the title of king without the assent 
of the Estates was contrary to law ; and the Frenchman 
was reminded that even so illustrious a personage as the 
queen's first husband, Francis, had not taken the title of 
King of Scotland until it had been accorded by consent 
of the Estates.* 

Meanwhile Randolph, with special instructions as to the 
tone of the English Court on the affair of the marriage, 
found it expedient to adopt the view of the declaration, 
and to deny Damle/s right to act as King Henry. His 
mistress had sent to him, as a coadjutor in his mission, a 
gentleman of her Court known as Sir John Tamworth, 
who suffered in the body for a rigid adherence to the prin- 
ciple of non-acknowledgment. Refusing to accept of a 
safe-conduct in the name of " King Henry,'* he was de- 
tained on his way back to England by the border free- 
booters, who seciu-ed him in Hume Castle, an act which 
he said had been suggested to them from Hol3rrood. 

Those bound to give suit and military service were 
repeatedly required to attend the "raid" or array. The 
absence of important persons fi'om these levies pointed 
them out as disaffected, and at the same time afforded 
means of punishing them by feudal forfeitures for default 
It was thought fit at the same time specially to cite Mur- 
ray and a few of the great opposition leaders by public 
proclamation, with the usual threat of prosecution for trea- 
son in case of disobedience. On the ist of August, Mur- 
ray was charged to appear under threat of denunciation 
" to the horn," or by public blast of trumpet ; and on the 
6th he was denounced accordingly, for, not being a man 

'• Calderwood, Appendix, iL 573. * Tenlet, iL 73. 


who would voluntarily place himself in the power of his 
enemies, he did not appear. 

He, with the other discontented barons, assembled at 
Paisley. Those who had joined the royal raid at the same 
time marched to Glasgow, so that the two forces were close 
together. The discontented lords, who with their followers 
made altogether about a thousand horsemen, passed by 
Glasgow within sight of the royal pair, and took up their 
position at Hamilton. The duke was their avowed leader ; 
but he had piurposes of his own, diflfering from theirs, to 
serve, and they did not work well into each other's hands. 
They left him, and rode on to Edinburgh. There a provost 
had been chosen from their own party ; but, in obedience 
to a royal letter, the appointment was cancelled, and a 
nominee of the Court appointed, who, when the cavalcade 
approached, directed the alarm-bells to be rung, and en- 
deavoured to prevent the strangers from getting within the 
gates. . They succeeded in entering the town, but were 
fired at from the castle. They issued missive writings, 
calling on the Protestants to rally round them ; but they 
utterly failed in their endeavour, and gained no recruits. 
The royal army, about five thousand strong, had in the 
mean time marched to Hamilton, and was on its way to 
Edinburgh. Unable to meet it, the malcontents retreated 
to Dumfries, whence they issued the remonstrance already 
referred to. 

The king and queen now took prompt measures, for in- 
deed the shortness of the service -which could be exacted 
from the feudal levy required that what was done should be 
done quickly. They were joined at that juncture by Both- 
well, an adherent invaluable when daring and promptitude 
were needed. This was the beginning of the effective ser- 
vices which placed him, although a subject, in the position 
of one to whom his monarch owed heavy obligations. He 
came then from France, bringing with him an agent of 
many of his doings — David Chambers, a scholar and an 
author, whose naturally dark and subtle spirit was thor- 
oughly trained in the unscrupulous policy of the Court of 
France. There arrived nearly at the same time from 
France the Lord Seton, a zealous member of the old fa:th. 


and an able and daring man. He was the head of a house 
which had been powerful, until the triumph of the Refor- 
mation had overwhelmed it ; but now, when the day of 
reaction had come, he returned to re-establish its influence. 
At the same time George Lord Gordon, the representative 
of the ruined house of Huntly, who was in law a denounced 
fugitive, was first relieved from this penal condition, and 
then step by step restored to the honours and, as far as 
that was practicable, to the vast possessions which ha. I 
enabled his father to wage war with the crown. This oc- 
curred in August Some months afterwards, as we shall 
see, Huntl/s sister was married to Bothwell; it was a 
political alliance for strengthening the cause of the queen 
and her husband. 

They seem in the mean time to have pressed pretty hard 
on the country in exacting the feudal levy. It could not 
be detained for a period sufficient for a campaign, and an 
attempt seems to have been made to remedy this by re- 
peated citation. On the 23d of July, before the marriage, 
the whole feudal army had been cited to appear at Edin- 
burgh, with fifteen days' provisions. On the 6th of August 
there was another citation of a raid to attend the king and 
queen on a progress through Fife. On the 22d of August 
all were again called to Edinburgh, with fifteen da)rs' pro- 
vision ; and on the 17th of September the fencible men of 
the southern counties were cited to appear at Stirling on 
the ist of October. Absence firom these raids incurred 
feudal forfeitures. These had to be levied by the courts 
of law ; and it would depend on the question whether the 
sovereign or some paity among his subjects had the upper 
hand, how far the penalties would be levied. On the pres- 
ent occasion the crown was triumphant, and the recusants 
had to fear the worst. Their danger enabled the sovereign 
to extract aids firom them in the shape of compromises, in 
which the legal proceedings were bought off. Making a 
progress northward through Fifeshire, money was thus 
raised from several of the gentry and royal burghs, includ- 
ing a considerable sum extracted firom the town of Dundee. 
Edinburgh was peculiarly disaffected. Certain of the citi- 
zens being required to appear at Holyrood, a composition 


was demanded, which they refused to pay, trusting probably 
that they would be able to evade or defy its ei5brcement 
by the courts of law. A transaction curiously suggestive 
of the feudal usages of the day followed. Money was much 
needed by the Court, and if threats would not force enough 
from the citizens of Edinburgh, any other available means 
must be taken. In the end a bargain was concluded, and 
they advanced a thousand pounds, receiving in pledge of 
repa)m[ient the superiority or feudal lordship of the neigh- 
bouring town of Leith. The Government repented of the 
bargain, and tried to cancel it ; but the corporation of Edin- 
burgh had already taken feudal sasine, and their hold was 
absolute, through the unyielding forms of the feudal law. 
It was the privilege of the burgesses of royal burghs to be 
the direct vassals of the crown ; but by this transaction 
one corporation was made feudally subordinate to another 
— an arrangement which naturally occasioned many irri- 
tating disputes in later times. 

Mary loudly demanded aid from France, and had it 
been obtained, the peril to Elizabeth's crown and the Pro- 
testant cause would have been greatly increased. But it 
was not for Catherine of Medici, if she could decently 
help it, to let the fast ally of Philip of Spain and her own 
old rival in France become Queen of England. Castelnau 
de Mauvissibre was sent to Scotland to keep matters quiet, 
and a better messenger for such a purpose could not be 
found. Grave, conscientious, friendly, and peaceful, he 
was beyond his age, and was peculiarly free of the impul- 
sive, warlike, and ostentatious propensities which have 
characterised his countrjnnen in all ages. His lengthy, 
and to all appearance faithful, record of his endeavours, 
only recently become known, throws a powerful light on the 
inner workings of the political mechanism. He brought 
with him certain letters from the young King of France 
to the discontented lords, urging them to quietness and to 
compromise. This, it will be observed, was in accordance 
with that patronising practice of the French Court, which 
was apt to overlook the diplomatic rule that sovereigns 
are only to communicate with sovereigns. In a four hours' 
interview which Castelnau had with Mary, she tried on him 


all the various resources of her passionate and subtle 
nature. She became tempestuously angry, she cried, she 
besought him with seductive remindings of his old kmdly 
attachment to the house of Guise — surely he would not do 
to her, a crowned queen, the dishonour of holding com- 
munication in name of another sovereign with her rebel 
subjects. Rather let it go forth that his mission is to ar- 
range for the powerful armament that is to be sent by her 
brother of France to crush them. She spoke, seemingly, 
with the vehement impetuosity of one who had cast her 
fortunes on a die and was to abide the issue. The French- 
man spoke earnestly of the miseries of civil war, of which 
he had seen only too much at home ; it might be so, but 
she was a sovereign, and was not to let her kingdom be- 
come a republic — she would die sooner ; and so, whether 
helped from France or not, she would go at the head of 
her faithful subjects and put down the rebels. Castelnau, 
following his instructions, and totally unsuspicious of what 
was to occur in his own country, told her that the discon- 
tented lords only sought what was conceded to the Hugue- 
nots of France, permission to follow in peace their own 
religious observance — ^what we in this day call toleration ; 
but she indignantly answered that they were her rebellious 
subjects, that they were conspiring against her own and 
her husband's life. 

Castelnau ventured respectfully to hint that this was an 
exaggeration put into her head by their calumnious ene- 
mies — for courts, he said, were haunted by backbiters, who 
attacked the absent and defenceless ; and as to the faults 
of her subjects, it were better that she should overlook 
these than drive them to the extremity of civil war. Those 
councillors, he reminded her, who were loudest for war, 
were not always the most valiant when it came to action ; 
and many were the princes who had begun a civil content 
in the haughty resolution of humbling ambitious subjects, 
and had come to see the day when they would have been 
glad to buy peace with the concessions at first arrogantly 
denied. The sage and moderate statesman pleaded in 
vain ; the haughty queen had now taken the coiurse she 
had long kept in the impenetrable recesses of her own 


bosom. It is significant that, in the same Memoir in 
which he describes the beginning of her headlong career, 
he mentions Bothwell as her right-hand man, and likely to 
be made lieutenant-general of the kingdom — so, ostensibly, 
began this man's disastrous influence.^ 

On the 8th of October, the royal army, with the queen 
and her husband at its head, left Edinburgh and marched 
by Stirling and Crawford towards Dumfries. On their ap- 
proach the leaders of the opposition retreated into Eng- 
land, abiding at Carlisle, and dismissing their small band 
of followers. 

To all appearance the Reformation had now been vir- 
tually subdued, and the old Church was again predominant 
in Scotland. At Queen Elizabeth's Court this was natur- 
ally deemed a serious calamity. It has been seen that 
she was recommended to strike a blow before the fatal 
marriage was accomplished. If she ever entertained such 
a design, she hesitated in execution till it became too late. 
Circumstances had now greatly changed. To have con- 
ferred on Murray and his party an overwhelming power, 
while they were yet nominally at peace with their sovereign, 
would have seemed nothing else than strengthening the 
established Government. The queen would have found 
it necessary, with all proper grace, to submit to the influ- 
ence of the Lords of the Congregation, as she had done 
in the campaign against Huntly and the punishment of 
the western Romanists. But now these lords were in 
arms against their sovereign, and to support them would 
be countenancing a principle for which Elizabeth had a 
despot's thorough detestation. When the lords, therefore, 
applied to her for an army of three thousand men and a 
fleet, they received no answer. At the same time, if it 
could be done with propriety and safety, it was extremely 
desirable that Murray and his party should be saved from 
utter extinction. The English representatives, Randolph 
and Thomworth, gave them encouragement, and raised 
expectations not to be realised. There has long been 

1 Discours sur la Voyage de Sieur de Castelnau en Escosse ; Teulet, 
li. loi. 



known a characteristic letter from Elizabeth to the Ear) 
of Bedford, Warden of the Marches, which develops with 
clearness and precision the policy of the English Court on 
this nice question. If Murray is in such want of money 
that a thousand pounds will be of service to help 
him to defend himself, it may be conveyed to him as 
from Bedford himself. As to armed assistance, she had 
*^ no intention, for many respects, to maintain any other 
prince's subjects to take arms against their sovereign/' 
but in this instance there were to be diplomatic represen- 
tations made, not only by herself, but by the French am- 
bassador, that Murray and his friends might have a fair 
trial and a just and merciful consideration — that they were 
not then in a position to levy actual war, but were in reality 
offering to submit themselves as good subjects, and were 
only defending themselves from extermination. The 
matter being viewed in this light, Bedford might secretly 
gather a small force by way of strengthening die garrison 
of Carlisle, as a Scots army was about to approach the 
border. If he found he could make this force effectual 
for the protection of the lords, he might then, at the critical 
moment, move on Dumi&ies.^ 

It would appear that English money in some shape and 
to some amount was given to the disaffected lords in Scot- 
land. Randolph, charged with giving 3000 crowns to the 
rebels, and protesting that he never had the fourth of that 
sum at his disposal, was ordered to leave Edinburgh. He 
fidgeted and demurred, demanding an audience, and took 
exception to the passport sent to him as signed by Damley. 
He thought well to pass out of Scots ground and so- 
journ in Berwick. There he saw indications of prepara- 
tion for the rush that used instantly to announce war — the 
breaking loose of the Scots borderers upon English ground, 
now after long restraints likely to be a productive field for 
plunder. He speaks of war as desirable, and the adviser 
of the Queen of England thought it so imminent as to 
prepare instructions for a feudal muster in the north, for 
strengthening the garrison at Berwick, and ''that all the 

* Robertson, Appendix, xiv. Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 458 


wardens put their frontiers in order with speed to serve at 
an hour's notice."^ 

As a key to the significance of these events, and 
especially of Elizabeth's share in them, it is necessary to 
remember that the cause of the old religion had received 
at that juncture a great impulse in Europe, which had not 
yet been met by a reaction. Th^re was good ground to 
apprehend that France and Spain were to abandon their 
rivalry, and, with the guidance and temporal aid of the 
Supreme Pontiflf, to enter on an alliance to crush heresy 
wherever they could find it. Scotland, the Italian states, 
and the Romanist states of Germany, were converging to 
the same centre of action. The French Huguenots felt 
the peril which afterwards drove them into civil war, but 
were not yet prepared to act. In the north of England 
a laige body of Romanists were restless and expectant 
The Scots queen, by declining to accept of the treaty of 
Edinburgh, adhered to her claim on the English throne ; 
and the Catholic powers, leagued as they were together, 
would seize it for her if tiiey could. A letter of private 
information by the French ambassador De Foix to Ca- 
therine of Medici, dated 29th September 1565, in its calm 
and guarded estimate of Queen Elizabeth's position, gives 
a lively notion of the dangers of the junctiu*e. He is of 
opinion that Queen Elizabeth cannot give any assistance 
to the rebel lords ; she has enough to do to protect herself. 
Though he has heard that Queen Mary made the idle 
boast that she would march at the head of her army until 
it reached London, he gives it as his own mature opinion 
that she will not venture to cross the border. But then 
the council which Elizabeth had summoned, separated, 
not without a suspicion that some favoured the claim of 
Queen Mary. The Lords of Northumberland, Westmore- 
land, and Cumberland were summoned to Court, that they 
might be delivered from the temptation of joining Queen 
Mar/s army if it crossed the border. To these symptoms 
— ^which to the Frenchman were matters not of alarm but 
of study — ^was added the news that the great O'Neil — 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 1565, p. 386 ; 1566, p. 27, 28. 



whom he calls " Le Grand Honvd " — ^had taken two of 
the principal royal fortresses in Ireland in the service of 
Queen Mary as Queen of Ireland ; and that to arrange 
about this afilair, she sent over to him two Highland am- 
bassadors — ^gentlemen " du pais des sauvages d'Ecosses " 
— who could speak his lAnguage.^ 

The juncture was one of imminent peril to the liberties 
and the Protestantism of England. Elizabeth dared not 
quarrel with any of the powers which looked on England 
with silent menace, and she found it absolutely necessary 
to propitiate them, each in its turn. She was not in a 
position to attack the Queen of Scots. She was especially 
anxious to retain the amity of France, and professed even 
to encourage a proposal for becoming the wife of the 
young king. Both the Spanish and French ambassadors 
at her Court dropped ominous hints of suspicion that she 
was secretly aiding the Protestant lords of Scotland in re- 
bellion against their sovereign. So pressed, Elizabeth did 
not hesitate to cast them off, and succeeded in doing so 
with flagrant publicity. Murray and the Commendator of 
Kilwinning went to London to plead the common cause. 
They were received, no doubt by prearrangement, in the 
presence of the French and Spanish ambassadors, where, 
to their amazement, they encountered a hearty scolding 
for their audacity, rebels and traitors as they were to their 
legitimate sovereign, in appearing before her, a sovereign 
too. She demanded of them a declaration that she had 
never given them any countenance in their traitorous re- 
sistance. Murray knew very well that if he attempted to 
thwart her, he was ruined for ever. He deemed it the 
wiser policy — ^and the result showed him to be right — to 
play into Elizabeth's game, and clear her of suspicion. 
The reward of the sacrifice had to be patiently waited for. 

In tracing the direct effect on Scotland of the impulse 
given to Romanism alnroad at that time, it is convenient 
to look at events occurring in the remote French town of 
Bayonne, on the Spanish frontier. Catherine of Medici 
had repeatedly expressed an eager desire to have a per- 

* Teulet, ii. 85. 


sonal interview with her son-in-law, King Philip of Spain, 
and planned a method of accomplishing such a meeting 
without attracting suspicion to it as a solemn conference, 
by suggesting that Philip should hold a progress through 
the north-eastern provmces of his dominions, while she 
and her son held a like progress in the south of France. 
E^ch might then step a short way aside, and meet, as it 
were, by a fortunate casualty. Such a progress Catherine 
and her son made in the beginning of the year 1565, 
passing deliberately from town to town with great pomp 
and splendour, and slowly approaching the Spanish fron- 
tier. Catherine's daughter, the Queen of Spain, went 
dutifully to Bayonne to meet her mother. Philip himself 
did not join them, but he sent one well fitted to re- 
present him — ^his destroying general, Alva. From his 
recently-discovered letters we have his own account of the 
secret conclaves to which the two dark spirits retired 
from the ostensible gaieties of the royal meeting. They 
soon found that, though each was unscrupulous, their 
aims were not in unison. Philip had one single object 
before him — ^the Church, of which he had become the 
sworn champion. For the Church, but for the Church 
alone, and for nothing else in this world, he was prepared 
to plunder and torture and forswear himself — ^to do any- 
thing required. It was not external conformity that, like 
politic and worldly princes, he looked to, but sincere faith 
and true belief. He therefore, instead of waiting till it 
made itself visible, tried to find heresy wherever it lurked, 
that he might extirpate it by fire, axe, and cord ; believing 
that whatever cruelties brought the victim to orthodoxy, 
and consequently to salvation, were, in a higher estimate 
than that of the world, acts of beneficence ; and that if the 
cruelty failed to convert, it accomplished the next best 
thing, by destroying the earthly tabernacle of heresy. 

In this spirit Alva addressed the Italian, demanding of 
her why heresy was not extirpated in France. When he 
was told of the strength of the Huguenot party, he con- 
sidered its existence all the greater a scandal. Not only 
could he see no reason why greatness and power should 
save any one from the destruction that was his due, but 


he flung it as a reproach on the Government of France 
that there were princes of the blood and heads of the first 
houses favourable to the heretics, and the very chancellor 
himself was a Huguenot. It was put as an immediate 
practical measure of a modified kind, that France should 
expel the Huguenot clergy and exact conformity, or 
should, as an alternative, try to strike terror by cutting off 
some five or six of the principal heads. The Italian tried 
her diplomatic art by suggesting some royal marriages 
advantageous to both countries, and hinting that, if these 
were brought to a satisfactory conclusion, France might 
join Spain in the good work of extirpation ; but these sug- 
gestions were haughtily checked as evidence that France 
had not her heart in the cause, since, instead of going 
straight to the good work, she made it a matter of policy, 
and indeed sought a bribe. The subtle Montluc, who 
was present, agreed in opinion that it would have been 
better had the right course been taken in time, and before 
the political power acquired by the Huguenots had ren- 
dered its adoption precarious; but he pledged himself 
that the queen was thoroughly sincere, and would rather 
be cut in two than become Huguenot. Alva, however, 
was dissatisfied and disappointed, though the Frenchmen 
whom he met, especially the Cardinal of Guise, gave him 
thorough sympathy. 1 

The object of Philip II. in this famous conference was 
known at the time — probably through the active emis- 
saries of the Huguenots. It was not known that his 
proffers met a cold return, and naturally the subsequent 
massacre of St Bartholomew was set down as the consum- 
mation of a plot then prepared. Famianus Strada, the 
great Romanist historian, the only person who professed 
to know something about the conference fi-om an authen- 
tic source — a letter about it from Philip II. to the Duchess 
of Parma, his sister — ^rather confirmed this notion by say- 
bg drily, that whether the massacre was planned on this 

^ Papiers d'Etat du Cardinal de Granvelle, ix. 312-324. See also 
Wiesener, ' Marie Stuart et le Comte de Bothwell/ p. 86, and hit 
reference to the letter of the Bishop of Mondovi in Labanoff, m 107. 


occasion he has no means of asserting or denying, but he 
rather thinks it was.-^ 

The impression at the time was that a special religious 
league had been contracted between the two powers. The 
foolish young King of France was supposed to reveal the 
secret by the looks and words which he cast at the Pro- 
testant leaders. His savage nature seems to have been 
roused by the persuasion of the Spaniards, which his wily 
mother heard impassively. It went forth that he deeply 
pondered on a metaphor of Alva's, that one salmon was 
worth a multitude of frogs, as illustrating the view that the 
more effective and economic method of suppressing heresy 
was to cut off the heads of the party by some sudden 
stroke, rather than to fight out the question in contro- 
versies and battles. The Huguenot leaders, thoroughly 
frightened for their heads, and knowing that the tempting 
moment for a stroke or coup was when they were assembled 
in council or near each other, separated as far apart as 
they could, each occupjdng and fortifying one of his own 

These Huguenots communicated their peril to the Pro- 
testants of Scotland, who in their turn believed that Mary 
had joined the league. So early as the summer of 1562, 
Throckmorton in Paris had warned his mistress that there 
was to be a confederacy of princes, including Spain, the 
Papal States of Germany, Italy, and Portugal, and that 
" the Cardinal of Lorraine sends to the Queen of Scots to 
enter the same — ^which is called The Catholic League — 
but not to make any appearance thereof "^ At the period 
we have reached, a French envoy, who brought the insignia 
of the order of the Saint Esprit to be conferred on Dam- 
ley, was believed to have brought the league for Mary's 
signature, and to have obtained it^ Randolph wrote to 
Cecil in February 1566: "There was a band lately de- 
vised, in which the late Pope, the Emperor, the King of 
Spain, the Duke of Savoy, with other princes of Italy and 
the queen-mother, were suspected to be of the same con- 

* De Bello Belgico, lib. iv. 

• Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 193. • Tytler, vii. 15. 


federacy to maintain Papistry throughout Christendom. 
This band was sent out of France by Thornton, and is 
subscribed by this queen." ^ If such a bond existed, the 
French Government was no party to it But whether in 
the form of a bond or not, beyond doubt Mary was the 
dose ally of the King of Spain in all his formidable views 
and projects for crushing the new religion. 

Indeed the state paper which reveals the true history of 
the conference at Bayonne is followed by a letter from 
Alva, undated, but seemingly also written from Bayonne, 
in which he explains to his master the manner of his 
carrying out the policy he was authorised to use towards 
Scotland. At the solicitation, he says, of the Cardinal of 
Guise, he gave audience to an envoy from the Queen of 
Scots. That envoy told him there would certainly be a 
revolution in England, and he desired to know what 
course his mistress ought to adopt. That, he was told, 
would depend on the strength of parties. Mary must in 
the mean time conduct herself not merely with reserve, 
but dissimulation towards Elizabeth. If she conducted 
herself to the satisfaction of the King of Spain, he would 
bring to her such aid, at the time when it was least ex- 
pected, that she would certainly accomplish her object. 
Here was laid the scheme of the Armada which was de- 
signed to place Mary on the English throne, and restore 
with her the old religion. By the signal tardiness. of its 
projector it was cast forward into a later historical period, 
when all the conditions on which it depended for success 
had passed away. It is remarkable that Alva pressed on 
the envoy the necessity of keeping this intimation a dead 
secret even from the Guises ; for, once in their possession, 
Catherine of Medici might get at it. The envoy, whose 
name is not mentioned, enchanted with the brilliant 
prospect, sent his brother to Scotland to tell the happy 

But at this time events fast following upon each other 
cleared away alike the hopes and the fears that Scotland 

* Wright's Queen Elizabeth, i. 219. 

• Papiers d'Etat du Cardinal de Granvelle, ix. 32Q. 

THE KING AND THE QUEEN, 1 565-66. t^f 

WBS to prove the means of subduing the British Esles to 
the dominion of the old Church. The period during 
which the marriage of Mary and Damley had the aspect 
of a happy union was short If there had not been worse 
qualities in either of them, there was an utter .incompati- 
bility. The wife had great genius and sagacity ; the hus- 
band was a fool, and a vicious and presumptuous fool. 
There is scarcely to be found in his character the vestige 
of a good quality. The resources of his power and rank 
seem to have been considered by him only as elements of 
animal enjo3niient, and of a vainglorious assumption of 
superiority. He indulged in every vicious appetite to the 
extent of his physical capacity; he surrounded himself 
with all manner of costly luxuries, over-ate himself, and 
drank hard. He did his wife that wrong which to a 
woman who retains the smallest remnant of attachment 
is the sorest of all. His amours were notorious and dis- 
gusting, and they had not the courtly polish which would 
entitle them to the compromising designation of intrigues ; 
for he broke the seventh commandment with the most 
dissolute and degraded, because they were on that ac- 
count the most accessible, of their sex. Such is a general 
summary of the character and habits which appear in those 
numerous accusations by his contemporaries, from which 
no one seems to have thought of vindicating his memory.^ 
Without any ambition to govern, he was haughty and 
supercilious to a pitch that drove the proud Scots nobility 
rabid ; and in his irritable or drunken fits he could not 
restrain his hand from the blow, inflicting on fierce and 
vindictive men the insult never to be forgiven. 

Apart from her own injuries as a wife, the queen had 
too much natural good taste, and was too thorough an 
adept in the court polish of Italy and France, to tolerate 
vice in such a form as this. Not many weeks of their 
married life seem to have passed before coldness appeared, 
and it soon deepened through estrangement into enmity. 

* The philippic of Buchanan, which must be dealt with afterwards, 
may be thought an exception ; but there the faint praise is put in foi 
artistic effect 


Their domestic bickerings became oflfensively notorious 
Damley ostensibly fixed his quarrel on her in the shape 
of a complaint that she had promised him the crown- 
matrimonial, and had afterwards refused to take any steps 
for accomplishing this promise. In his foolish passion he 
offered violence to the high officer of the law who brought 
him the disappointing intelligence that he was unsuccess- 
fiil. How this expression "crown -matrimonial" came 
into use, and what it meant, have already been referred 
to as difficulties arising out of the schemes of the Guises. 
A French politician is the best interpreter of the term ; 
and we find Mauvissi^re saying that, in the case of Mary's 
death, it would have passed the crown to her husband 
entirely, and then to his heirs. If this arrangement were 
absolute, then a daughter by Mary might have been super- 
seded by a son bom to a subsequent wife ; but whether 
it went thus far or not, it was one of the matters in which 
the Hamilton family had the chief interest, and proba- 
bly through their influence it was that the claim was 

On the 24th February 1566 there was a marriage-cere- 
mony, which would not have belonged to history but for 
after-events. Bothwell was then married to the Lady 
Jane Gordon, a daughter of the Earl of Huntly. This 
was made a Court affair, and there was a royal banquet- 
ing for five days. The queen took an interest in the lady, 
and specially bequeathed to her some jewels. She be- 
longed to the old Church ; and it is said in Elnox's His- 
tory that " the queen desired that the marriage might be 
made in the Royal Chapel at the mass, which the Earl 
of Bothwell would in nowise grant." But he could not 
obviate the possible interference of Popish influence on 
the union in another and more serious shape. From 
what we have seen of the condition of the law of marriage 
before the Reformation, it would have been an exception 
to the ordinary conditions could such a marriage be valid 
without dispensation. A Papal dispensation therefore was 
obtained as a precaution should the question of the valid- 
ity of the marriage come to be tried by the canon law as 
administered by the old Church. We shall see that this 


dispensation has a curious and significant episodical his- 
tory of its own. 

The interest taken by Queen Mary in this marriage has 
been pitted against the many presumptions that her heart 
then belonged to Bothwell. But experience in poor 
human nature teaches us that people terrified by the pres- 
sure of temptation do sometimes set up barriers against 
it which they afterwards make frantic efforts to get over. 
In the natural course of things a crisis was now at hand ; 
for the Parliament was to meet on 4th March 1566, and 
the great question was, whether Murray and his exiled com- 
panions would appear there and fight their own battle, or 
would stay away and be to a certainty outlawed, and stripped 
of every dignity and every acre of their possessions. 

The spies of Queen Elizabeth were in sore perplexity, 
watching the shadows of coming events ; and their cor- 
respondence has the tone of men labouring under a 
weighty consciousness that terrible explosions are coming, 
yet without any certain indication when or in what form 
they may be expected. This correspondence is very in- 
teresting and suggestive, if we take its general tone ; but, 
written without that distinct knowledge of the mighty 
projects of the inscrutable King of Spain, which were at 
the back of all that was doing in Scotland, the letters do 
not throw a steady and distinct light on the causes of what 
followed, and indeed contain so many rumours and pre- 
dictions — some of which were fulfilled, while others were 
not — ^that the advocate of almost any historical theory 
about subsequent events is apt to find among them some- 
thing temptingly calculated to support his views. ^ We 

^ Many of the rumours wafted out of Scotland at this critical 
juncture are oracularly equivocal, and even when they predict violence 
or death, they might be supposed to refer to a conflict and its casu- 
alties. The following letter, written by Randolph on the i8th of 
February, has, especi^ly in the concluding sentence, the merit of dis- 
tinctness. "I know now for certain that this queen repenteth her 
marriage — that she hateth him and all his kin. I know that he 
knoweth himself that he hath a partaker in play and game with him. 
I know that there are practices in hand contrived between the father 
and son to come by the crown against her will. I know that if that 
take effect which is intended, David, with the consent of the king 


hear that Damley is in danger of his life : so is Rizzio ; so 
is the queen herself; so is Murray, who is said to be, un- 
fortunately for his own safety, in possession of a secret 
involving his sister's fair fame. In one significant aflfair 
we can depend on these newswriters, because it was not a 
guess or prognostication, but a matter of fact passing be- 
fore their eyes; and also because, although subsequent 
events confer a momentous import on it, yet it was looked 
on as but an ordinary matter at the time. Bothwell, 
whether for public or private reasons, was rising high in 
the queen's favour, and beginning to wield an influence in 
rivalry of the king's. " This also," says Randolph, " shall 
not be unknown to you, what quarrels there are already 
risen between her and her husband : she to have her will 
one way, and he another ; he to have his father Heutenant- 
general, and she the Eail of Bothwell ; he to have this 
man preferred, and she another." ^ 

But another actor in the great tragedy was to precede 
him. The Italian was daily becoming more offensive; 
and, utterly unconscious of his position, he flaunted before 
the eyes that looked murder on him, giving himself many 
arrogant airs, decorating his person extravagantly, and 
dealing offence in the very state and rank betokened by 
his costume. He seems to have felt no fear, and even to 
have disdained some friendly warnings. He was sure of 
the favour of the queen, and he was not accustomed to 
governments in which those who are well with the supreme 
power need be afraid of what subjects can do. His 
thorough and almost exclusive knowledge of the great 
secrets between his mistress and the King of Spain very 
probably added to his arrogance ; and a dim consciousness 
that he was working at Popish intrigues made him all the 
more dangerous and odious to the Protestant party. The 
miscellaneous circle of enemies who aggregated round the 
poor man secured the aid of Damley by the most power- 
ful of motives — ^he became, or he was made, jealous of the 

shall have his throat cut within these lo dajrs." — Letters in Mait- 
land, Narrative. 
' Kaumer, 69. See this referred to by Mauvissiire, in Teulet, it. 99. 

DARNLEY AND RIZZIO, 1565-66. 141 

Italian, and coarsely expressed his suspicion that he and 
the queen were too intimate. Mary, no doubt, held him 
in her usual chains ; for she seems to have been incapable 
of holding converse with any one of the male sex without 
setting her apparatus of fascination at work. Farther than 
this she is not likely to have gone ; but the ugly stories 
that long prevailed are aptly attested by the sapng attri- 
buted to Henry IV., that King James's title to be called 
the Modem Solomon was, doubtless, that he was the son 
of David who performed upon the harp. The revolting 
paternity tainted the controversies of her son's reign, and 
indeed was a jest before he was bom.^ But we can 
feel that in its nature it has none of the fundamental 
credibility that influences other charges laid against the 
same character. It is in some measure with the written 
gossip of history as with the tattle of society. Things are 
said in the fury of an election or under the temptations 
that assail the habitual jester, and the sedate onlooker who 
weighs them knows that they are not true. Even so we may 
say of this charge against Queen Mary, as well as of the 
cruel stories that beset the early life of Queen Elizabeth. 
It was settled that the man should be put to death, and 
that before the great parliamentary contest about the ex- 
iled lords came on. A band or bond was entered into, 
according to the old practice in Scotland, in which those 
concerned owned their responsibility for the deed, and 
their resolution to stand by each other. It was absolutely 
necessary to have a hold like this on so slippery a person 
as Damley, whom no one trusted. Or as Ruthven puts 
it, " They, considering he was a young prince, and having 
a lusty princess to lie in his arms afterwards, who might 
persuade him to deny all that was done for his cause, and 
to allege that others persuaded him to the same, thought 
it necessary to have security thereupon." It is worthy of 
remark that the bond contemplates more than one victim, 
the whole being described as "certain privy persons, 

* In a letter to Leicester of 29th June, Randolph, anticipating off- 
spring, says, " Woe is me for you when David*s sone shal be a Kynig 
of England I"— Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 13. 


wicked and ungodly, not regarding her majest/s honour, 
ours, nor the nobility thereof, nor the common weal of the 
same, but seeking their own commodity and privy gains, 
especially a stranger Italian called Davie," whom they 
mutually engage to punish according to their demerits ; 
" and, in case of any difficulty, to cut diem oflf immediately, 
and to take and slay them wherever it happeneth." If 
any of the banders should get in trouble for doing so, 
Damley stipulates to fortify and maintain them to the ut- 
most of his power, " and shall be friends to their friends, 
and enemies to their enemies/' The document, drawn 
by a skilful lawyer, ends with a specific clause that, " be- 
cause it may chance to be done in presence of the queen's 
majesty, or within her palace of Holyrood House, we, by 
the word of a prince, shall accept and take the same on 
us now as then, and then as now ; and shall warrant and 
keep harmless the foresaid earls, lords, barons, freeholders, 
gentlemen, merchants, and craftsmen to our utter power. 
In witness whereof, we have subscribed this with our own 
hand at Edinburgh the ist of March 1565-66."^ 

Damley's side of the bond has been preserved, but not 
the other, so that we do not know with certainty who all 
were concerned in the plot On the 6th, Bedford and 
Randolph thus intimated to Cecil that it was presently to 
come off : " Somewhat, we are sure, you have heard of 
divers disorders and jeers between this queen and her 
husband, pardy for that she hath refused him the crown- 
matrimonial, partly for that he hath assured knowledge of 
such usage of herself as altogether is intolerable to be 
borne, which, if it were not over-well known, we would 
both be very loath to think that it could be true. To 
take away this occasion of slander, he is himself deter- 
mined to be at the apprehension and execution of him 
whom he is able manifestly to charge with the crime, and 
to have done him the most dishonour that can be to any 
man, much more being as he is. We need not more 
plainly to describe the person — you have heard of the 
man we mean of." ^ 

^ Ruthveii*s Relation.  Tytler, vii. 25. 


There was at the same time another bond, involving 
ostensibly much larger political adjustments^ in which 
Damley was on one side. Those on the other side were 
in the same interest with the banders against Rizzio, but 
there is no evidence that they were exactly the same per- 
sons j and, indeed, it might be supposed that they were 
persons of too much dignity and seriousness of character 
to entertain a proposal for the murder of a minion. If 
we may believe Ruthven's account of the origin of this 
band, when Damley besought him to get Rizzio disposed 
of, he protested that he would have nothing to do with 
the matter unless Damley would bind himself to '' bring 
home " Murray and the others, " who were banished only 
for the Word of God,'' as Ruthven put it. Damley, to 
carry his point, agreed to the terms. " After long reason- 
ing and divers days' travailling, the king was contented 
that they should come home into the realm of Scotland, so 
that the said Lord Ruthven would make him sure diat 
they would be his, and set forward all his affairs. The 
said lord gave answer to the king, and bade him make 
his own security, and that he should cause it to be sub- 
scribed by the aforesaid earls, lords, and barons." The 
title of the formal document they subscribed is instmctive. 
It is called, " Certain Articles to be fulfilled by James, 
Earl of Murray ; Archibald, Earl of Argyle ; Alexander, 
Earl of Glencaim ; Andrew, Earl of Rothes ; Robert, 
Lord Boyd; Andrew, Lord Ochiltree; and their com- 
plices — to the Noble and Mighty Prince Henry, King of 
Scotland.'* The subscribers bound themselves to " take 
a loyal and tme part with the said noble prince in all his 
actions, causes, and quarrels, against whomsoever, to the 
utmost of their powers ; and shall be friends to his friends 
and enemies to his enemies, and neither spare their lives, 
lands, goods, nor possessions." They specially undertake 
to do their best in Parliament to secure for him the crown- 
matrimonial, and promise their interest to obtain for him 
the friendslup of Queen Elizabeth and the relief of his 
mother and brother from detention by her. Damley, on 
the other hand, engages to do his best to protect the ex- 
iled lords from punishment, and to restore to them their 


estates and dignities. Nothing is trusted to generalities^ 
but the course he is to adopt is set forth with specific 
distinctness by some able conveyancer — probably Bal- 
four, who afterwards drew another band in which Damley 
was concerned, but to which he was no party. He was 
not to suffer any forfeitures to pass against them, nor 
to let them be accused in Parliament, and, if need be, 
was even to prevent the holding of a Parliament ; and 
if he succeeded in obtaining the crown-matrimonial, he 
was then to use his prerogative in their favour. The 
safety of the Protestant religion — the really important 
part of the arrangement — is provided for, with a curi- 
ous circumlocuitous sh)mess, as *' the religion which 
was established by the queen's majesty our sovereign 
shortly after her arrival in this realm, whereupon acts 
and proclamation were made, and now again granted 
by the said noble prince to the said earls, lords, and 
their complices."^ 

Thus had the Protestant cause received a new and 
unexpected ally. Mary says afterwards, in a letter to her 
councillor. Archbishop Beaton, that the arrangement was 
kept a dead secret from her, and that she was unconsciously 
arranging for her Parliament, " the spiritual estate being 
placed therein in the ancient manner, tending to have 
done some good anent restoring the auld religion, and to 
have proceeded against our rebels according to their de- 
merits."^ All was now ready for the blow. The Parlia- 
ment assembled, the exiled lords were on their way back, 
and the rime and method of disposing of the Italian were 
adjusted. 3 

* Ruthven's Relation. * Labanoff, i. 342. 

' The account of its execution I propose to take from three sources : 
first, the queen's own statement, sent to her faithful adviser, Archbishop 
Beaton. Second, a state paper drawn up by the Earl of Bedford and 
Randolph for the information of the Privy Council of England. It is 
the fruit of inquiries made of the actors themselves after they had 
taken refuge in England, and from other sources, the whole being 
sifted and examined with the practical acuteness with which the 
authors of the paper were so amply endowed. The third is a narra- 
tive professing to have been written by Lord Ruthven, the chief 
actor in the affair. All the three correspond with a precision un- 


On the 9th of March, Morton, the chancellor, com- 
manded the force who were to act — about a hundred and 
fifty men. Having the king with him, he got possession, 
silently and without contest, of the great gate and the 
various outlets of the Palace of Holyrood, so as to make 
prisoners all within it. A considerable part of his force 
seems to have been stationed in the royal audience-cham- 
ber down-stairs. From this Damley brought some of them 
into his own chamber, whence he ascended, by a secret 
stair, to the queen's apartments, showing Ruthven, who 
was to follow, the way. It was seven o'clock. Darnley 
had supped early, to prepare for work. The queen, who 
had two chambers entering to each other, was in the in- 
ner, called the cabinet, twelve feet square. She was seated 
at a small table on a couch, or " low reposing-bed,'* as 
Bedford and Randolph call it, with the Lady Argyle and 
Rizzio, who sat, as it was noted, with his cap on ; and this 
sight was perhaps the more offensive that a few Scotsmen 
of good rank — her brother the Commendator of Holyrood 
House, Arthur Erskine, the Laird of Creech, and others 
attached to the household — seem to have been in attend- 
ance as domestics, while " Signor Davie " sat with his cap 
on. He was clothed in " a nightgown of damask, furred, 
with a satin doublet and hose of russet velvet." The little 
party seem to have been unconscious of anything unusual, 
until after Damley, who put his arm round his wife's 
waist and chatted with her kindly, was followed by the 
grim Ruthven, who had risen haggard from a sick-bed, and 
required to be helped up-stairs, though he was clad and 
armed more suitably for a foray than a queen's cabinet 

common in the accounts of exciting events ; but the third is the most 
minute in its detail, and the most practical and lifelike throughout. 
See Letters, Queen Mary to Archbishop Beaton — LabanofF, i. 341 ; the 
Earl of Bedford and Randolph to the Council of England — Wright's 
Queen Elizabeth, i. 226 ; and ' A Relation of the Death of David 
Rizzio, chief favourite to Mary, Queen of Scotland, who was killed 
in the apartment of the said Queen on 9th of March 1565-66 ; writ- 
ten by tne Lord Ruthven, one of the principal persons concerned in 
that action.' Printed in 1699, and reprinted in Scotia Rediviva, 1826. 
It is also in the Appendix to Keith, book ii. No. xL, and in Trip- 
hook's Miscellanea Antiqua, 1814. 



He told Ais business forthwith ''It would please your 
Riajesty to let yonder man Davie come fiirth of your pre- 
sence, for he hath been over long there.'^ Then there was 
a sharp dialogue, in which, as in all the dialogues even 
reported by an opposite psuty, the queen appears to have 
held her own. She wanted to know why her servant 
idiofild be demanded. She was at last told, in terms suffi- 
dently suggestive, if not quite explicit. 

''It will please your maje»ty, he hath offended your 
majesty's honour, which I dare not be so bold as speak 
of. As to the king your husband's honour, he hath hin- 
dered him of the crown-matrimonial, which your grace 
promised him, besides many other things which are not 
necessary to be expressed. And as to the nobility, he 
hath caused your majesty to banish a great part, and the 
most chief thereof, and forefault them at this present Par- 
liament, that he might be made a lord ;" and so he passed 
to particulars. He then tells how, when he had finished, 
the queen rose up. She stood before the recess of a win- 
dow. The Italian drew his hanger mechanically, as it 
appears, with no spirit to defend himself; for he seems to 
have read his doom in the face of the intruder, and he 
crouched behind his mistress, clutching at the folds of her 
gown. Ruthven was alone all this time, and nothing had 
occurred to tell the inmates of the cabinet that there were 
others at hand. As Ruthven was palpably rude, the attend- 
ants laid hands on him ; but he shook them off fiercely, 
drawing his hanger and saying, " Lay not hands on me, 
for I will not be handled 1'' and as he spoke others rushed 
in, filling the small apartment, and upsetting the supper- 
table with the candles on it The Lady Argyle snatched 
up one of the candles, and preserved the group from dark- 
ness. There was some rough scuffling ere the wretch 
could be torn from his clutch of the queen's gown ; and 
she declared that a hanger was thrust at David over her 
shoulder, and a hackbut or pistol held as if aimed at her- 
self. In the end, Ruthven took the queen and placed her 
in her husband's arms, telling her not to be afraid — ^they 
would sooner spend their own hearts' blood than she 
should suffer harm, and they were doing but the bidding 

MURDER OF RIZZIO, 1566. 147 

of her own husband. So they passed her, and dragged the 
trembling wretch out of the recess of the window. It had 
been their intention to take him to Damley's chamber, 
there to hold a sort of court of judgment on him, and 
afterwards hang him ; but in the press and confusion he 
was hurled into the queen's " utter chamber" or anteroom, 
and the crowd of enemies about him " were so vehemently 
moved against the said Davie that they could not abide 
any longer.'' All that could get near enough stabbed him, 
until " they slew him at the queen's far door in the utter 
chamber." The body was hurled down-stairs te the por- 
ter's lodge, where the porter's assistant, stripping off the 
fine clothes as it lay on a chest, said, — '' This has been his 
destiny; for upon this chest was his first bed when he 
entered into the place, and now here he lieth again, a very 
ingrate and misknown knave." 

Those great ofi&cers who had apartments within the pre- 
cincts of the palace, including Bothwell, Huntly, and 
Athole, were naturally surprised and angry at the presence 
of the large addition unexpectedly made to the armed in- 
mates of the palace ; and there was likely to be a contest 
between their followers and the followers of the conspira- 
tors. Damley intervened and kept peace, owning the 
strangers as his own men ; and there was much rapid talk, 
with explanations and some professions of reconciliation, 
in the crowd of men — ^several of them at feud with each 
other — ^who had been so singularly brought together. 
Very few on either side seem to have yet known of the 
slaughter. A body of the townspeople, armed, and headed 
by the provost, hearing that there was turbulence and draw- 
ing of swords in the palace, hurried thither ; but, assured 
by Damley that the queen and he were uninjured, and all 
was right, they went their way, also ignorant of the tragedy 
of the night. While these things were going on, Ruthven 
and Damley were back in the queen's cabinet, talking to 
her; and she also was ignorant of her favourite's fate. 
Rutiiven, indeed, assured her that he was safe, and for 
the time in her husband's apartment, where he supposed 
the body to be safe in his own sense of the word. The 
queen uneasily observed the absence of her husband's 


hanger. It was left sticking ostentatiously in the Italian's 
body, as a testimony whose deed the slaughter was ; but 
she professed to be satisfied that nothing more had taken 
place but what she had seen, and then began a wordy war 
between the husband and wife. 

He charged her with the change in her ways towards 
him " since yon fellow Davie fell in credit and familiarity" 
with her. Especially she used of old to seek him in his 
chamber ; and now, even if he came to hers, there was little 
entertainment for him there, save so far as Davie might be 
the third with them ; and then they set to cards, and played 
on till one or two .of the clock after midnight — late hours 
certainly for that age.^ To this she made answer with her 
usual felicity, that " it was not gentlewomen's duty to come 
to their husband's chamber, but rather the husband to 
come to the wife's chamber, if he had anything to do with 
her." He rejoined, like a petulant boy, " How came ye 
to my chamber at the beginning, and ever till within these 
few months that Davie fell in ifamiliarity with you ? Or 
am I failed in any part of my body ? Or what disdain 
have you at me ? Or what offence have I made you, that 
you should not use me at all times alike, seeing that I am 
willing to do all things that becometh a good husband to 
do to his wife ? " These words recalled the outrage that 
had just taken place, and were followed by a little out- 
burst from her, very remarkable when contrasted with the 
tone we shall find her taking when she knew that, her 
favourite had been actually put to death. " Her majesty 
answered and said, That all the shame that was done to 
her, that, my lord, ye have the weight [blame] thereof; 
for the which I shall never be your wife, nor lie with you, 
nor shall never like well till I gar you have as sore a heart 
as I have presently." 

* That the card-playing was an item of Court gossip appears in a 
letter from Randolph to Cecil of 25th December 1565 : '' The queen's 
husband never gave greater token of his religion than that this last 
night he was at matins and mass in the morning before day, and heard 
high mass devoutly upon his knees ; though she herself the most part 
of the night sat up at cards, and went to l^d when it was almost day." 
—Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 541. 

MURDER OF RIZZIO, 1566. 149 

Here Ruthven interposed with good-humour, recom- 
mending the queen to take a sensible view of things, be 
reconciled wit5i her husband, and with him follow the ad- 
vice of good friends. Exhausted apparently by this effort, 
a little scene follows, which must be told in his own words. 
" The said lord being so feebled with his sickness, and 
wearied with his travel, that he desired her majesty's pleas- 
ure to sit down upon a coflfer, and called for a drink for 
God's sake; so a Frenchman brought him a cup of wine." 
His interruption of the matrimonial colloquy, and his inso- 
lent familiarity, turned the storm upon himself; and he 
says that, "after he had drunken, the queen's majesty 
began to rail against the said lord." She alluded to her 
position, having been six months pregnant, and said that 
if she died, or her child, in consequence of what had been 
done, she was not without friends capable of revenging 
her. There was the King of Spain, the Emperor, the 
King of France, and her uncles, not to speak of his holi- 
ness the Pope. Ruthven answered, with grave sarcasm, 
" that these noble princes were over-great personages to 
meddle with such a poor man as he was, being her ma- 
jesty's own subject" Then there was a partly political 
discussion, in which Ruthven maintained that the queen 
had abandoned her constitutional advisers, and sought 
counsel of the Italian and other strangers, who taught her 
to set her own abitrary power above the Estates ; that she 
had especially interfered to name the Lords of the Articles 
in the ensuing Parliament, for the purpose of securely crush- 
ing her brother Murray and the other exiled lords. It is 
observable that, while this brisk dialogue went on, not a 
word came from Damley, though Ruthv6n appealed to 
him. At last he observed that the queen was tired, arid 
advised her husband to bid her farewell. She was left 
with certain attendants who could be trusted, atid^uthven 
kept charge of Damley, with whom he.'had business still 
to transact Ere they separated two proclaipa^ons were 
adjusted, to be issued next day by Damley as king. The 
one called a muster of the well-affected inhabitants of Ed- 
inburgh, who were to keep ward in the streets, " and to 
suffer none others to be seen out of their houses, except 


Protestants, under all highest pain and charge that after 
may follow." The other proclamation dischaxged or dis- 
solved the Parliament, requiring all the members to leave 
Edinburgh within three hoiu^, save such as the king might 
specially require to remain. Having adjusted these matters 
to his satisfaction, we are told that, " the gates being locked, 
the king being in his bed, the queen's majesty walking in 
her chamber, the said LfOrd Ruthven took air upon the 
lower gate and the privy passages." One other event, 
however, happened in the night, not so propitious as those 
which preceded it Bothwell and Huntly managed to make 
their escape ; and, from Mary's own account of the matter, 
it would seem that they had contrived to establish a com- 
munication with her, engaging to relieve her from without, 
or to help her to escape.^ 

The great affair of next day, which was Sunday, was the 
arrival of the banished lords, who reached Edinburgh about 
seven o'clock in the evening.^ Thus were they on the 
spot to profit by the recent tragedy without having defiled 
themselves with it. There can be little doubt tSat they 
were prepared for it. Among the many scraps of paper 
which contain merely the rumours of the day, Murray is 
set down in some as a contriver in the plot. There is no 
sufficient evidence that he was so, and such a thing is not 
consistent with his steady, careful, decorous walk in life. 
That, knowing it was likely to take place without throwing 
any responsibility on him, he should have gone out of his 
way to hinder it, was beyond the human nature of his age. 
The name of Knox, too, is to be found on these lists. It 
is still less likely, however, that he should have compro- 
mised his position as a minister of the Word by either exe- 
cuting or plotting an assassination. Whether, knowing 
that it was to be done, he would have interrupted it, or 

^ Labanoff, i. 348. 

' An acemate annotmcement by the English ambassadors to firieads 
in England, dated 8th March, proved precisely accurate : ** The Earl of 
Murray is written for and his whole company. They will be on Mon- 
day night at Edinburgh, but that whidi is intended shall be executed 
betoie his coming on him whom Cecil knows." — Bedford and Ran- 
dolph to Leicester and Cecil Calendar of State Papers (Foreign). 39. 

MURDER OF RIZZIO, 1566. 151 

ivould have bidden the perpetrators God-speed, is an idle 
question, since, with his usual candour, he has left in his 
History his thorough approval of the deed. Moralising 
on the fallen condition of the conspirators afterwards, when 
they became fugitives, he utters a warning against suppos- 
ing that they are deserted of God, who may yet raise them 
up again to His ^ory and their comfort. ** And to let the 
world understand in plain terms what we mean, that great 
abuser of this commonwealth, that poltroon and vile knave 
Davie, was justly punished on the 9th of Mardi, in the 
ear of God one thousand five hundred threescore five 
six], for abusing of the commonwealth, and for his other 
viilany, which we list not to express, by the counsel and 
hands of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, Patrick, Lord 
Lindsay, and the Lord Ruthven, with others assisters of 
their company, who all, for their just act, and most worthy 
of all praise, are now unworthily left of their brethren, and 
suffer the bitterness of banishment and exile.'' ^ Much of 
the accusation and defence wasted on the characters of 
that age arises firom the supposition that, like a well-princi- 
pled citizen of the present day, any one hearing of an in- 
tended crime was expected to go and inform the police 
People in the public world had too much anxiety about 
themselves to think of others, and only the strongest per- 
sonal motive would prompt one to interfere with any act 
of violence. An attempt to thwart a crime by which his 
cause would profit, might have justly exposed a man to the 
charge of insanity or gross duplicity. 

Sunday the loth was a busy and anxious day at the 
palace. At what time the queen heard of Rizzio's death 
is not certain ; it must have been pretty near the time when 
she also heard diat the banished lords were to arrive.^ It 

* Knox, I. 235. 

* The question when and how the queen knew of lUnio's death 
seems to bne (tf great moment, in its bearing on the evidence against 
her for the muider which followed. It is quite dear that Riscio was 
not, as is cenecaUy so^poied, slain before her face. In Bedford and 
Randolph^ narrative it is said distinctly, ** He was not slain in the 
queen's presence, as was said, but going down the stairs out of the 
cnamber of presence." In her own narrative sent to her fidthfiil ooiia- 


is certain, however, that she at once altered her tone to 
Damley. She resolved on luring him back, along with 
such of the other enemies surrounding her as she could 
win over. With her foolish husband she accomplished her 
purpose with the ease of a great artist ; the others seem to 
have kept themselves beyond the magic circle. It was 
part of her policy to make him think she believed in his 
absurd protestations that he had no concern in her favour- 
ite's death. The day was spent by Damley in vibrating 
between the two parties — coming from the queen to de- 

cillor, Archbishop Beaton, she says, ** The said Lord Ruthven perforce 
invaded him in our presence (he &en for refuge took saf^^nard, having 
retired him behind our back), and with his complices cast down our 
table upon himself, put violent hands on him, struck him over our 
shoulders with whinyards, one part of them standing before our face 
with bended dags, most cruelly took him furth of our cabinet, and at 
the entry of our chamber gave him fifty-six strokes with whinyards 
and swords." This tends to confirm Ruthven's narrative, by showing 
that Rizzio was taken alive out of the cabinet and killed in the ante- 
room. It is not a necessary inference that he was wounded, though 
she says they struck him over her shoulder with whinyards ; their 
object, undoubtedly, was to get him out of the queen's presence in the 
first place. In the queen's short account of her controversy with 
Ruthven, when speaking of Rizzio, she says, * ' whom they had actu- 
ally put to death." If Uiis stood alone, it might be doubtful whether 
she mentions that as a fact merely which she might afterwards have 
known, or states that she was told it at the time by Ruthven. In the 
narrative of Bedford and Randolph, who were undoubted masters of 
all the facts, it is stated- that, in her conversation with Ruthven and 
her husband, the queen spoke for Rizzio's safety partly in entreaties, 
partly in threats, saying, ''Well, it shall be dear blood to some of 
you if his be spilt.'' In whichever sense it be taken, this explanation 
is further proof that she did not see him slain (see the letter in Laba- 
noff, i. 344, 345). Spottiswoode (p. 195) gives the following distinct 
account of her acquaintance with the end : "The queen, bursting forth 
in many tears after a great tiding she kept with the Lord Ruthven, 
sent one of her maids to inquire what was become of Davie, who 
quickly returning, told that he was killed : having asked her how she 
knew it, the maid answered that she had seen him dead. Then the 
queen, wiping her eyes with her handkerchief, said, *No more tears — 
IwUl think upon a revenge* Neither was she seen after that any 
more to lament." For this account, accepted in several quarters, I 
am aware of no better authority than Spottiswoode's mere statement, 
and the dubious memoirs attributed to Lord Herries. If better 
vouched, it would be formidable evidence of her intention to work 
for what afterwards came to pass. 

MUkDER OF klZZIO. 1566. I53 

mand concessions for her, getting scolded for his weakness 
and the peril he was bringing them all into by yielding to 
her blandishments, and going back fortified against her, to 
return again as her humble messenger. Early in the day 
she recovered her women, through whom she communi- 
cated with Bothwell, Huntly, and other friends. The 
alarm was more than once raised that a miscarriage was 
approaching, and the necessary attendants were sum- 
moned; but Ruthven thought he saw under all this a 
project for her escaping among the miscellaneous throng 
of women hunying out and in, and it was regulated, much 
to the queen's annoyance, that no gentlewoman should 
pass fortii " undismuffled." 

It was arranged, as a signal token of reconciliation, that 
Damley was to share the queen's couch that night. As 
men will do, however, when they have got a heavy piece 
of business satisfactorily through, he took a drowsy fit — 
probably, too, he was saturated with wine ; so he fell dead 
asleep in his own chamber, and when he awoke too late, 
scolded those who had failed to break his slumber. Pro- 
bably the queen did not much regret a new insult which 
relieved her of a portion of her work of dissimulation. 
She was next day all smiles and caresses. The meeting 
with the banished lords cannot be better told than in Ruth- 
ven's own words : — 

" She took purpose, and came out of the utter chamber, 
led by the king. The said earls and lords sitting down 
upon their knees, made their general oration by the Earl 
of Morton, chancellor, and after their particular orations 
by themselves. And after that her majesty had heard all, 
her answer was, that it was not unknown to the lords that 
she was never bloodthirsty nor greedy upon their lands 
and goods sithence her coming into Scotland, nor yet 
would be upon theirs that were present, but would remit 
the whole number that was banished, or at the last dead, 
and bury and put all things in oblivion, as if they had 
never been; and so caused the said lords and barons to 
arise on their feet. And afterwards her majesty desired 
them to make their own security in that sort they pleased 
best, and she should subscribe the same. Thereafter hei 

154 QU££N MARY. 

majesty took the king by the one hand and the Earl of 
Murray by the other, and walked in her said upper cham- 
ber the space of one hour, and then her majesty passed 
into her inner chamber." ^ 

The desire that they should " make their own security " 
had reference to a new band appropriate to the occasion, 
which a skilful conveyancer was in fact at that moment 
preparing, under the vigilant inspection of the returned 
exiles, or of the king's party, as they were then — ^but only 
for a few hours — named. Soon after six o'clock in the 
evening the king joined them, or at least their committee, 
consisting of Murray, Morton, Ruthven, and Lindsay, who 
handed to him their band of security, ready for his signa- 
ture and the queen's, '^ which the kmg took in hand (as 
soon as he had supped) to be done." He made a re- 
quest, however, which inflamed their still slumbering sus- 
picions, by desiring them to remove their own people, and 
leave the queen in the hands of her proper guard. The 
lords had been telling Damley all along, in pretty plain 
terms, that there was duplicity at work and they were only 
led on to be betrayed; and at this proposal Ruthven, 
bursting out in anger, told him that what should follow 
and what blood be shed should come on his head and that 
of his posterity, not on theirs. The guards seem not to 
have been removed ; but the lords themselves adjourned 
to Morton's house to sup — a, step attended with risk, yet 
in which there was a certam policy, because it was expe- 
dient that the queen, in whatever she signed, should have 
as much appearance c^ free-will as it was safe to allow. 
After supper they sent Archibald Douglas to see if the 
queen had subscribed the band. No, she had not; the 
king said she had read the articles and found them very 
good, but she was sick and going to bed, and delayed the 
subscribing until the morning. 

About an hour after midnight the queen and Damley 
managed, by connivance, to slip out through the wine-cellar. 
Outside, Arthur Erskine, captain of her guard, met her by 

^ Rttthven's Rdation. 

MURDER OF RIZZIO, 1566. 1 55 

arrangement with six or seven mounted followers. The 
queen seated on a crupper behind Erskine, they all rode 
straight to Seton House, where the Lord Seton gave them 
an escort on to Dunbar. The governor of that strong for- 
tress was amazed, early on Tuesday morning, by the ar- 
rival of his king and queen, hungry, and damorous for 
fresh eggs to breakfast 







Thus the confederate lords rose in the morning to find 
themselves outwitted and in great danger. They de- 
spatched a messenger to Dunbar on the useless errand 
of procuring that signature to their band which the royal 
fugitives had neglected to leave. The messenger was 
detained two days before his message could be delivered, 
and it was not even honoured with the formality of an 


The queen dictated letters pleading her cause and 
vindicating herself. One letter to Queen Elizabeth has 
been preserved. It is dated from Dunbar on the 15th of 
March, and contains this passage : " We thought to have 
written this letter with our own hand, that ye might have 
better understood all our meaning, and taken mair famil- 
iarly therewith ; but of a truth we are so tired and evil at 
ease, what through riding of twenty miles in five hours of 
the night, as with the frequent sicknesses and evil disposi- 
tion by the occasion of our child, that we could not at this 
time, as we was willing to have done." ^ 

Bothwell meanwhile was busy in collecting a force for 
the queen's protection. He seems to have immediately 
brought to Dunbar a sufficient number of followers to 
render an attack on that fortress desperate ; and on the 
28th of March he accompanied the royal pair back to 
Edinburgh at the head of two thousand horsemen. The 
opposition had in the mean time, with few exceptions, 
either fled to England or retired to a safe distance. The 
exiled lords who had returned from England made their 
appearance at the Tolbooth, where the Parliament was 
held, on the day for which they were cited — the day after 
the escape. There was of course no Parliament, for it 
had been dissolved by the proclamation which they had 
influenced Darnley to issue ; but there was some subtle 
technical fencing, the lords protesting that they had ap- 
peared when summoned, and since there was no one to 
arraign them, all charges against them fell ; while on the 
other hand, Robert Crichton, the queen's advocate, en- 
tered a counter-protest on such grounds as he thought 
most tenable. The lords thought it wise to retreat to 
Linlithgow. There was, however, no intention of press- 
ing further on them as a party — the cause of the restora- 
tion of the old religion, which was the cause of antagonism 
to them, had to be abandoned for more urgent contests. 
The queen gave several of them letters of remission. 
Melville, as interim secretary, was occupied in preparing 
these documents at Haddington w^hile the Court was on 

* Labanoflf, i. 337. 


its way from Dunbar to Edinburgh.^ They were not, 
howeYer, directly received into favour, but were desired 
to retire to their own estates ; and they professed to obey 
this instruction, remaining sharply on the watch for each 
turn of ev^ts. 

The tragedy that naturally drew all attention in Scot- 
landf was the topic of the day in England and throughout 
civilised Europe. It was not only that it was a murder — 
that was a common event — ^but it was perpetrated in such 
conditions of outrage and insult to royalty, as raised the 
indignation of sovereigns and courtiers. Yet the import- 
ance of the tragedy as a political blow could only be 
known to a few. In the traces of the queen's intercourse 
with the Court of Rome and the Papal powers we now 
see its significance more dearly than even the leading 
statesmen of the day in England and Scotland. It cut, in 
short, the communication of the queen with her secret 
correspondents across the Channel. If there was any one 
that could fill his place, it was emphatically marked as a 
post of danger. There seems, however, to have been no 
one with resources for the du^. Suspicion fell here and 
there on persons, as employed in secret messages ; but if they 
were so, it was as subordinates to the Italian, who appears 
to have had the whole of that weighty business on his 
hands. So it came that to the queen his death was not 
only a mighty outrage, and the loss of a counsellor and 
friend, but it was a &tal blow to the political and ecclesi- 
astical projects that so filled her aspirations. Meanwhile 
his mistress did honour to his memory. His body was 
removed from the Canongate graveyard, where it had 
been buried, and was solemnly, and with the proper rites 
of his Church, laid with the dust of the kings of Scotland 
within the Chapel of Holyrood. In scomfiil bravado the 
queen appointed the dead man's brother, Joseph Rizzio, 
a youth who had just airived to seek his fortune, to the 
office of her foreign secretary. The one object of her life 
seemed then the avenging of the murder, and the one 
class of men who felt that there could be no compromise 

1 Melville, K2. 


for their lives were those who could be proved to have 
actually committed the deed. Morton, Ruthven, Lindsay, 
Douglas the Postulate, Ker of Faudonside, and several 
others, were cited to answer for the murder, and having 
fled to England, were outlawed and " put to the horn." 
A few minor persons forming part of the force which held 
the palace were convicted and executed. 

Damley showed the reckless perfidy of his nature by 
eagerly helping to denounce and capture his fellow-mur- 
derers. In speaking of them to Melville, he used an ex- 
pressive trope applicable to men left to their doom, " As 
they have brewed so let them drink." * It was not part 
of his wife's policy to attempt to bring him to justice with 
the otiiers ; and so, to put a decorous appearance upon 
his position, he acted the farce of solemnly declaring his 
innocence of the crime before the Privy Council — ^at least 
the queen assured Beaton, her own ambassador, that he 
had declared to herself and the Council '* his innocence 
of this last conspiracy; how he never counselled, com- 
manded, consented, assisted, nor approved the same."* 
His reconciliation with the queen had, however, now 
served its turn. She no longer required to separate him 
from the party of the exiled lords, who had more to trust 
to from hevself than from him. The distaste she had felt 
before, deepened by the intervening tragedy, broke out in 
a palpable loathing visible to every one around them. 
Melville noticed it even on the journey from Dunbar, and 
he thought the subsequent rapid movements of the queen 
were for the purpose of avoiding her hated husband. 
Melville takes credit for having pleaded, until he received 
a rebufif, for the unhappy young man. Randolph, whose 
eye caught the sudden change of conduct, attributed it to 
Maiy Imving been shown the band for the murder of 
Rizzio, with her husband's signature to it ; but a woman 
of her penetration, and with her opportunities of knowing 
the facts, did not require such evidence. 

Her wretched husband had now effectually divested 
himself of every hold he ever had on any party or con- 

1 MelviUe, 153. ' LabanofT, i. 549. 


siderable person in the realm. Grave and calculating 
statesmen distrusted and despised him from the first. 
Desperate plotters convicted him of the unpardonable 
crime of treachery to his banded confederates. The Pro- 
testant party hated him, and the scorn of the queen cast 
him ofif from the Romish party ; and so, as Melville says, 
'* he passed up and down his alane, and few durst bear 
him company." There was not even the external pre- 
tence of consulting him on business ; and he had nothing 
to do but to go about like a tabooed schoolboy, bemoaning 
his condition to any, whether Scots or foreigners, who 
would listen to him — a. practice which, by exposing the 
family brawl to the world, only made him the more odious 
and despicable to his wife. 

An event occurred, however, which for a short time sus- 
pended the matrimonial discord. Mary had retired to tne 
Castle of Edinburgh, as a safe retreat for the occasion ; 
and on the 19th of June a son was bom to her, afterwards 
known as James VI. of Scotland and I. of England. It 
was noticed at the time as a memorable fact that Damley 
acknowledged the infant as his own ; and that this should 
have been deemed a fact of importance is curiously sug- 
gestive of the unsatisfied and suspicious feelings which had 
become prevalent. Sir James Melville was sent to an- 
nounce the auspicious news at the Court of England, and 
he has left an amusing picture of the rigid Elizabeth yield- 
ing to an impulse of curious vexation when abruptly 
startled by the news in the midst of a Court banquet at 
Greenwich, and lamenting that the Queen of Scots was 
the mother of a fair son while she herself was but a bar- 
ren stock. Next day, however, at a public audience, she 
was kind and courteous, and profuse in her congratula- 
tions and the proffers of her sympathy. 

The family quarrel was suspended only for a brief period 
by this event. The position of Damley was ever becom- 
ing more conspicuously isolated and feeble, by the queen's 
policy of reconciliation with those who had been her 
political enemies. All but those who had actually laid 
hands on Rizzio were welcomed back. Thus Murray, 
Aigyle, Glencairn, and even the man she most feared and 


disliked on public grounds, Lethington, with other minoi 
persons who had been in disgrace, were received into 
favour, and, nominally at least, co-operated with Bothwell 
and Huntly. 

Damley in his desolation seems to have become alarmed 
for his safety. He resolved to go to France " in a sort of 
desperation," as the French ambassador called it — in short, 
to escape. His father, Lennox, who suffered with his de- 
clining fortunes, and seems to have shared in his alarm, 
wrote to the queen about this design, and said there was 
a ship ready to receive him. She, however, resolved that 
he should not go. Something is muttered in the corre- 
spondence of the time about his forming a party with the 
Romanists against the queen, on account of her favour to 
the Protestant party and her abandonment of the project 
of restoring the old religion ; but Mary and her policy 
were far too deeply rooted in the councils of Rome and 
Spain to give the foolish young man the smallest chance 
of doing mischief— there was no danger in that direction, 
and there can have been no genuine fear. The reason 
for detaining him seems to have been that which Le Croc 
refers to — the scandal that must arise from the separation 
and its manner, aggravated as it would be by the young 
man's incontinent tongue. He knew too much, foolish as 
he was, to be safely trusted at a distance. 

His wife .took this occasion to put herself in the right 
and him in the wrong, and did so with her usual skill 
She said she had discussed the matter with him in private, 
and could get no satisfactory answer ; so she resolved on 
a matrimonial dialogue in solemn manner, before an as- 
semblage of the nobility — both those who were her con- 
• fidential friends and the others who were for the time 
being her political allies. 

Le Croc was brought within the charmed circle over 
which Queen Mary exercised her influence — she had 
taken great pains apparently to gain him. "I be not 
able," he says, "sufficiently to express the honour and 
bounty the queen here shows me ; for she often prays me 
to ask money from her, or any other thing I stand in need 
of." And he paid her back by saying, "I never saw hex 



majesty so much beloved, esteemed, and honoured, noi 
so great a harmony amongst all her subjects, as at present 
is, by her wise conduct." Of the scene of matrimonial 
diplomacy which he was called on to witness, the ambas- 
sador gives the following distinct and animated accoimt, 
in a letter of Court news sent on the occasion to a corre- 
spondent in France. 

" And thereafter the queen prayed the king to declare 
in presence of the lords and before me the reason of his 
projected departure, since he would not be pleased to 
notify the same to her in private betwixt themselves. 
She likewise took him by the hand, and besought him for 
God's sake to declare if she had given him any occasion 
for this resolution ; and entreated he might deal plainly, 
and not spare her. Moreover, all the lords likewise said 
to him, that if there was any fault on their part, upon his 
declaring it, they were ready to reform it. And I like- 
wise took the freedom to tell him that his departure must 
certainly affect either his own or the queen's honour — 
that if the queen had afforded any ground for it, his de- 
claring the same would affect her majesty; as on the 
other hand, if he should go away without giving any cause 
for it, this thing could not at all redound to his praise : 
therefore, that since I was in this honourable employment, 
I could not fail, according to my charge, to give my testi- 
mony to the truth of what I had both formerly seen and 
did presently see. After several things of this kind had 
passed amongst us, the king at last declared that he had 
no ground at all given him for such a deliberation ; and 
thereupon he went out of the chamber of presence, saying 
to the queen, ' Adieu, madam ; you shall not see my face 
for a long space : ' after which he likewise bade me fare- 
well; and next turning himself to the lords in general, 
said, * Gentlemen, adieu/ " ^ 

The eyes of onlookers now came to be fixed on Bothwell 
as one whose destinies seemed to be linked with those of 
the queen, in a sinister rather than a propitious shape. 

^ Letter addressed to Archbishop Beaton, who acted as the queen's 
umbassador or political agent in France. — Keith (8vo ed.), iL 451. 


As such forebodings were well justified by events that 
must have exceeded their wildest stretch, and we have to 
follow the two through a career presenting the rarely 
united features of reckless audacity and publicity in action, 
while the inner practices and private motives at work 
have been objects of a close criticism and keen dispute, 
it may be proper here to look back on such traces as we 
may find of Bothwell's position among his countrymen 
before the commencement of his crowning notoriet}'. 

In the first place, he was largely endowed with gifts 
from the crown both in office and territory, and it will be 
proper to follow the steps of his aggrandisement, noting 
time and circumstance as appropriate to each. 

He became lieutenant or warden of the Scots 
marches. On each side of the border there usually were 
three wardens— one for the eastern, one for the middle, 
and one for the western march. The policy of this will 
be found in the propensity of border powers to aggrandise 
themselves, and become independent. The rule was 
punctiliously observed on the English side, but on the 
side of Scotland Bothwell was sole warden or lieutenant.^ 

We find him transacting business in this capacity so 
early as the year 1560, yet the sole wardenship is spoken 
of in the correspondence of December 1566 as if it were 
a novelty.^ 

The fluctuations in the property of the Church afforded 
the crown ample means of distributing substantial prizes. 
Bothwell was endowed with the Abbacy of Melrose and 
the Priory domains of Haddington. Each of these foun- 
dations had wide and rich territorial possessions. It 
is often difficult to find how much is acquired in the 
acquisition of such a domain by its ecclesiastical title, 
since substantial portions of the territories may be given 
to others. It is said that Bothwell obtained die greater 

* It is said by one with good opportunities for knowing the truth, 
that the three wardenships were ** never before held by one person." 
—Wood's edition of Douglas's Peerage, 230. 

' ''Bothwell is lieutenant of all the marches of Scotland, and has 
allowed him 200 horsemen in wages for reforming of Liddesdale.**^ 
Forster to Cecil, Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 850. 


portion of the actual wealth attending on these gifts at 
the time when his power at Court became conspicuous. 
But we find him credited with the possession of Mel- 
rose and Haddington in 1560.^ 

He was Lord High Admiral or " Great Admiral of Scot- 
land/' and we find him administering the duties of this 
office in 1561.2 

The French garrison, left as we have seen in Dunbar 
Castle, were removed in 1561.^ It was rumoured at the 
time tiiat Bothwell was to be commander of the castle.* 
We find it, however, in the mean time governed by others, 
and it does not seem to have come into Bothwell's hands 
until the more critical period of 1566 or 1567.* The pos- 
session of this, the strongest of all the Scots sea 
fortresses, was a substantial addition to the power of the 
Admiral of the Scots seas. It was ever the taint at- 
tending on Bothwell's possession of authority, that he em- 
ployed it for his own evil ends ; and thus it was imputed 
to the chief magistrate of the seas that he made them 
safe to pirates, and unsafe to the statesmen who were 
under the shadow of his enmity.® 

^ ** Lord Bothwell has given him by the queen the abbeys of Mel- 
rose and^Haddington." — Randolph to Cecil, Calendar of State Papers 
(Foreign), 9. But the same collector of news sa3rs, in December 
1563, that Lethington is at Haddington, ''taking possession of the 
whole Abbacy which the queen had given him, so that he is now 
equal with any, and has his whole land lying in Lothian." — Ibid., 
(1563), 617. 

» Ibid., 145. 8 Ibid., 278. 

* **The Queen of Scots has given order that in case the French 
be shifted from Dunbar, the Earl of Bothwell shall forthwith enter 
and keep it to her use." — Throckmorton to Queen Elizabeth, 21st 
May 1501, ibid., 121. 

* "The Earl of Bothwell has the whole inheritance of Dunbar 
given to him, the castle reserved." — Randolph to Cecil, 7th June 
1566, ibid., 81. "Bothwell has obtained the castle of Dunbar, 
with all the lands belonging to it" — Drury to Cecil, 19th April 1567, 
ibid., 211. 

* For instance, ** Lethington being ready to go into Flanders, had 
word that Bothwell laid wait to take him by sea, whereupon he is 
gone into Argyle." — Killigrew to Cecil, 24th June 1566, ibid., 94. 
So, when, as we shall see, certain accusative placards were published in 
Edinburgh, all masters and skippers of vessels were forbidden under 

THE CAREER OF BOTH WELL, 1560-66. 165 

We shall all the better understand the estimate of 
BothwelFs character by his contemporaries, and the reason 
why evil repute was so bitterly assigned to it before the 
great crime associated for ever with his name, by taking a 
glance at the political and social condition of the border 
at this period. If the traditions of the old earldom of 
Northumberland lingered, to suggest to those who were 
strongest on the border the establishment of something 
like an independent Margravate, the question was settled 
by the destruction of the Armstrongs. A change had 
gradually come over public opinion about mosstrooping. 
It was degenerating from national warfare into sordid in- 
dividual rapine. The old debt of enmity to England for 
the war of aggression was discharged by the treaty of 
Edinburgh. The political influences that led to that 
treaty had discouraged marauding in England, and on each 
side of the border there were zealous efforts to punish 
depredations on the other side as if they were crimes 
within the depredator's own country. It required a gene- 
ration or two, however, to pass, ere the borderers could 
adjust their habits to these new principles. They were 
still rievers by nature, at war with all restrictive laws. 
What they longed for above all things that could befall to 
make them happy was war between the two countries. 
Then would each side be let loose on the national enemy 
to plunder the byres and the bams that had grown afflu- 
ent through years of peaceful industry. Thus, ever on the 
alert to welcome the happy outbreak of war, the demeanour 
of the borderers was, like the palpitation of the funds at 
the present day, the most delicate test of the chances of a 

pain of death to give passage to one of the persons accused of uttering 
them. — Anderson, i. 38. There is a story told by Buchanan of the 
queen and Bothwell taking a yachting voyage in the Firth of Forth 
to AUoa, accompanied by a crew of pirates, only to be accounted for 
by the suspicions current as to BothwelPs use of his maritime powers. 
^ Of this there is an instance in BothwelFs own career. '* Some fear 
this taking of Bothwell will cause Teviotdale men to ride the faster. 
Continual bruits are here sown among them of wars." — Randolph to 
Cecil, 22d January 1563, Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 60. The 
'* taking " was one of Bothwell's many adventures. He was in a vessel 


Such marauding as there was took gradually tlie shape 
of individual robbery rather than warfare. It was observed 
that, curbed as they were on the side of England, the moss- 
troopers turned northwards and did occasional business in 
the Lothians and in Fifeshire. It .was not a horde burst- 
ing on the district and sweeping away all its wealth of 
cattle, but the occasional feat of some small party attracted 
by a valuable piece of booty. 

Thus it befell, that while the mosstrooper race retained 
their old instincts, the pursuit of them was falling from its 
old position as a policy down into that of a crime against 
society. The descendants of those who had carried out a 
war policy against a national enemy, or arrived at the 
establishment of a separate power between two hostile 
kingdoms, were becoming vulgar thieves and robbers.^ 
How far this social change concerns the character and 

driven on Holy Island, having been, as he said, on his way to France 
to visit the queen's uncles, the duke, and the Cardinal of Lorraine. 
A party was told off from the garrison of Berwick to search for him 
He was taken in an outhouse belonging to a Northumbrian yeoman. 
They found the earl in bed and two of his men standing with their 
weapons and apparel about them, and their horses saddled, and so 
apprehended the earl and his men. —Ibid., 51. We find Sir Henry 
Percy, who then had him in charge, writing to Cecil that '* he is a man 
of the frontier and of great power ; for Liddesdale is his, wherein are 
many great offenders to this realm, also a good part of Teviotdale, 
with the residents in which he is in great friendsmp, as the Cars, the 
TumbuUs, the Scotts, and the Rutherfords." It is therefore put to 
Cecil to answer, ''whether the earl's friendship might find the queen 
any service." — Ibid., 129. 

* Sir Richard Maitland (father of William Maitland, better known 
as Lethington) has a political diatribe against *' The Thieves of 
Liddesdale," written, according to Sibbald's Chronicle (iiu 104), 
*' perhaps in summer 1561." 

" Thay thiefs have neirhand herreit haill 
Ettnck forest and LauderdailL 
Now are they gane 
In Lothiane, and spairs nane 
That they will waiL . . . 

The spuile puir men of then: paks, 
Thay leif them nocht on bed nor bales 
Bayth hen and cok 
Widi reil and rok. the Laird's Jok 
All with him taks. 
Thay leif not spindle, spoon, nor spit, 
Bed, bolster, blanket, aark, nor sheit ; 

THE CAREER OF BOTHWELL, 1560-66. 1 67 

career of Bothwell is found in the consideration that he 
was the most powerful man on the Scots side of the 
border, and in the solution of the question, how he used 
the power he so possessed ? 

Bothwell had, both from his wide territories and his 
triple warden ship, a preponderating influence on the 
border. His castle of Hermitage was as much beyond 
the strength of the border peel towers or bastles, as a 

John of the Parke 
R^es kist and ark — for all in wark, 
He IS richt meet/' 

This John of the Park seems to have been the man who wounded 

Sir Davd Lindsay, writing perhaps some twenty years earlier, gives 
us the changing features of the mosstrooper with his peculiar touches 
of sarcasm and individuality. In the satire of ** The Three Estates," 
** Common Theft '* lets out his propensities. He is met by ** Oppres- 
sion,'* who is described so indistinctly as to give the impression that 
the satirist could only venture on distant hints. We may suppose 
him to be a potentate in the Highlands, since he is to be found in 
Balquhidder, and swears by St FiUan. He gets the better of poor 
Common Theft, who finds him in durance seated in the stocks, 
and on the promise of ''ane couple of kye in Liddesdale,'* he gets 
Common Theft to change places with him, and makes off to his 
own fortresses. Before this calamity comes on him. Common 
Theft monologues in this manner : — 

" Will na gude fellow to me tell 

Quhair I may find 
The Earl of Rothes' best hakney 
That was my errand here away. 
He is richt stark as I hear say. 

And swift as wind. 
Here is my bridle and my spurris, 
To gar him lanss our feild and furris, 
Might 1 him gett to Ewis durris 

I tak na ctiir. 
Of that horss micht I get ane sicht, 
I haif na dout yet or midnicht 
That he and I sould take the flicht 

Through Dysart Muir. 
Of companary, tell me brother 
Whilk is the richt way to The Struthei : 
I wald me welcome to my modher, 

Yif I micht speid. 
I wald gif baith my coat and bonnet, 
To get my Lord Lindsay's brown Jonot ; 
War we bevond the water of Annet 

We sould nocht dreid.'* 

— Sibbald, ii. 314. "The Struther" was in Fifeshire, and so the 
mosstrooper of Ewesdale, temptingly dose to England, is obliged to 
turn northward and transact business north of the FordL 


fortress that will stand a siege compared to the strong 
private man's house that may hold out against a band of 
robbers. In the most remote and inaccessible wilds of 
the Scots border, it looked upon England some eight 
miles distant. Thus, either for good or evil, the Eari 
Bothwell was supreme in this critical district But he 
was in bad repute, and the preponderance of opinion 
was that the use he put his power to was evil. The 
public opinion of his class — the great border proprietors 
— ^had outgrown, as we have just seen, the spirit of the 
riever. To countenance him or have dealings with him 
resembled what it was in Queen Anne's reign for the mem- 
bers of some worshipful county family to be tainted with 
a suspicion of connivance with highwaymen.^ If such 
dealings were discreditable among the higher order of 
border potentates, the reproach fell with double force on 
that one among them who was intrusted with the ruling 
and ordering of the others. In a variety of shapes there 
occur bitter remarks on BothwelPs character and designs.^ 

* Doings of the kind are the object of Lord Howard's rebuke in 
the * Lay of the Last Minstrel: * — 

".It irks, hieti dame, my noble {ords, 
'Gainst ladye fair to draw their swords; 
But vet they may not tamely see. 
All urough the western waraenrv. 
Your law-contemnine kinsmen riae. 
And bum and spoil uie border-side ; 
And ill beseems your rank and birth 
To make your towers a flemens>firth." * 

^^anto iv. 34. 

It happens that his rebuke is imagined as addressed to a lady who was 
on peculiarly intimate terms with Bothwell. 

* On the 2 1st of March 1561, Sir John Forster writes to Cecil, — 
''Forthat theLiddelsdalemen came into Hexamshire on the 19th instant 
and there made open reif ; yet they were so hastily pursued that there 
are sundry of their horses won, and they themselves went very streightly 
away on their feet through the mosses on the high land, where no 
horseman could pursue them." He finds that "they have taken en- 
couragement by reason of Lord Bothwell's arrivaJ," and he "desires 
to understand the Council's pleasure, whether he may have liberty to 
do such displeasure to the Liddlesdale men as he is able, seeing he 
cannot be answered forthem." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign),34. 

On the 28th of February 1563, Randolph says : ** Since the appre- 
hension of Bothwell the thieves have no less spared Scotland than Eng- 
land. They take it here to be done by his advice ; they know that he 

* An asylum for outlaws^ 

THE CAREER OF BOTH WELL, 1560-66. 169 

It appears that in the eyes of the substantial English 
statesmen, among the elements of disreputability in his 
condition, one was that for all his power and his wide ter- 
ritories, he was ever destitute of money. Among many 

has continual conference with the veriest thieves in the country. But 
that it stands with Queen Elizabeth's pleasure, it is judged that that 
liberty which he has can tend but to small effect." — Calendar of State 
Papers (Foreign), 168. 

Randolph a^in, on the 19th of September 1565, in the crisis of the 
contest with Murray : ** Sudi order is in this country that no honest 
man is sure either of his life or goods. To amend these matters it is 
told that Earl Bothwell is arrived, whose power is to do more mischief 
than ever he was minded to do good in his life ; a fit man to be a 
minister to any shameftil act, be it either against God or man." — 
Ibid., 467. 

On the days of ** trew " or truce, as they were called, the wardens and 
their followers on either side of the border met for an equitable adjust- 
ment of counter-claims for injuries. The claims were rendered in ''bUls," 
and the whole process reminds one of those questions of " proving on 
cross bills " in bankruptcies, that have distracted lawyers. In these 
complex and delicate adjustments, Forster, who was warden of the 
English middle marches, writes to the Privy Council of England about 
his arrangements " for the performance of certain bills for the attempt- 
ates of both realms : " * * Sent his Warden-serjeant with a roll of twenty- 
three attemptates, to be delivered by Lord Borthwick at the Hermi- 
tage on 25th February ; when such as kept the house flatly denied 
eiSier to receive any letter or rolls, and said that they kept the house 
for Lord Bothwell and no other, and took the officer prisoner and 
spoiled him of his horse and all that he had, and caused him to find 
surety to enter whenever they called upon him. It is supposed 
that they have got some encouragement to do so by reason of Lord 
Bothwdl's arri^ in Scotland." He called on the Scots warden for 
redress, '' who says thatvhe will desire the assistance of the Council of 
Scotland now at Edinburgh, for otherwise he is unable to redress it, or 
other attempts of Liddlesdale." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), 
1 561, p. 10. 

Bedford, going to a day of " trew " well armed, is rather apprehensive 
about the peace between the two parties, ** because Bothwell is with 
such a rout of thieves and lawless people so near. I assure you he 
is as naughty a man as liveth. . . . Whatsoever countenance of 
justice that queen pretendeth outwardly, yet is she thought to favour 
him much, and if she punish him not, then will I think she is not so 
bent to do justice as I supposed." — 6tli April 1565 ; ibid., 327. 

These are casual estimates of his merit as a keeper of order and 
administntor of justice on the border. A collection from the corre- 
spondence of the day, of the passages announcing evil opinions of 
his character and intentions, would be tiresome. A passage in a letter 
from Bedford to Cecil at the time of the great trial of strength wkh 
Murray has an odd casual aptness to the tenor of subsequent events ^— 


allusions to this, one by Throckmorton may suffice, in 
reference to the question whether he should be permitted, 
in the early part of the year 1564, to return to Scotland, 
or be left in England, " where, if he remain in beggary, my 
sovereign shall be forced for pity to supply his necessity, 
for all is sold here to the uttermost penny." ^ 

There is observable through all the comments of the day 
on Bothwell's restless and criminal career, a strange curi- 
osity and anxiety about Queen Mary's intention regarding 
him : is she favourable and inclined to help him out of his 
difficulties ? is she implacable and determined to hunt him 
down? Even if there had never been the cause there 
afterwards was for connecting their names together, these 
traces of a belief that a sovereign had a strong personal 
interest in an erring subject would be peculiar. The first 
question that naturally occurs is, whether these S3anptoms 
of interest point to the awakening of that which afterwards 

** The length of time and the easyness of his bond maketh me to 
think that the queen there doth secretly favor him. If he get fair 
weather on his hack, he may chance to wax wanton and work them 
some trouble before they catch him.'* 

There is, in a postscript to this letter, the foUowing personal inti- 
mation to Cecil, who was weU accustomed to such warnings, and 
seems to have taken them with quiet courage: '*BothweU had this 
talk of you in France, that he meant not to kill any in England so 
soon as you, and one Riveley. . . . You may think yourself happy 
that such an unhappy man doth bear you evil will, which is for no 
other cause but doing justice and loving your country."— 1565; Cal- 
endar of State Papers (Foreign), 320. 

^ Randolph to Cecil, 21st Februaxy 1564; Calendar of State Papers 
(Foreign), 57. There are other passages in this correspondence that 
unfortunately do not fuUy interpret themselves : " Such as have written 
^and I among the rest — in favour of my Lord BothweU — saving the 
queen and Mary Fleming — repent their haste.*' A month later Sir 
Henry Percy writes to Cecil that BothweU is recommended by the 
queen of Scots to Queen Elizabeth, and solicits Cecil's patronage for 
him, ** being young, and not left so well to maintain his estate as the 
same reouires. '' — Ibid., 83. So also an interpreter would be welcome 
to the following passage in a letter another month later, attributed to 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, and addressed at Perth to Randolph : '* In the 
mean time I wad such as ye knaw I have always done, that the Earl 
of BothweU were keeped [in England] still, for our queen thinks to 
have bim at all times reaidy to shake out of her pushet [French. 
pochettel against us Protestants." — Laing's edition of Knox, vL 54a 


became a guilty passion ? The answer to this is, that no- 
thing in the tone of the passages referred to warrants the 
conclusion that this was in the minds of the writers. The 
tenor of their suspicions, when they are suspicious, seems 
rather to be that she cherished Bothwell as that desperate 
and remorseless enemy of her brother Murray who might 
be counted on for working his ruin.^ 

There is still an opening to a higher motive for any par- 
tiality felt by Queen Mary towards this man before tlie 
great scandal arose. She may have expected to find him 
a trusty warrior in the impending contest — for that there 
should be a great European war, with England on one side 

' Randolph, for instance, explaining to Cecil that in the pursuit of 
Murray and his followers she is waiting for money : "Thereafter she 
will herself again to the fields and pursue them wheresoever she finds 
them. There comes a great host out of the north with Lord Gordon, 
who imputes the overthrow of his father to Murray — which is ap- 
proved by the queen. Bothwell takes great things upon him and 
promises much — ^a fit captain for so loose a company as now hangs 
upon him. Whatsoever she is able to do by authority, suit, request, 
favour, or by benefit, all is one so it may serve to the overthrow 
of them that she is offended with." — 1565 ; Calendar of State Papers 
(Foreign), 478. 

On the question of the appointment of a "lieutenant-general,'' 
Captain Cockbum writes to Cecil on 2d October 1565 : " She and 
the king have been at great strife for chosing a lieutenant. The 
king would have his father to be lieutenant, and she would have 
Bothwell, by reason he bears evil will against Murray, and has pro- 
mised to have him die an alien — and for that cause she makes him a 
lieutenant" — Ibid., 477. 

The literary history of a passage expressive of the queen's enmitv 
to her brother reveals a new peril to mankind, in any lack of carefiil- 
ness in the citation of w^ords of disparagement attributed to Queen 
Mary — there is no such peril on the other side. The words are : 
"There is no talk of peace with that queen, but that she will first 
have a head of the dmce or of the Earl of Murray." The scolding 
administered to the English historian of the period for a careless use 
of this passage, thundered as it has been across the Atlantic, is one 
of the curiosities of literature. — See *Mary Queen of Scots and her 
latest English Historian,' by James F. Meline (New York, 1872), p. 
77-89. When we come to her exultation at the news of the murder 
of her brother, we may judge how lightly she would herself have taken 
the imputation of any amount of enmity to him, unless it had been 
made at an inopportune moment — as when she walked between him 
and her husband, holding a hand of each, after the murder of Rizzio. 


and France on the other, was, as we have seen, the ex- 
pected solution of the difficulties of the time. Of course 
she earnestly desired that Scotland should help France ; 
and if the traditions of the old league were appealed to, it 
might make them more welcome to the country that the 
forces of Scotland were to be commanded by a Protestant. 
There would be consistency in such championship, since 
he had served her mother in the contest ending with the 
treaty of Edinburgh. But, in the correspondence of the 
day, there is a dubiousness about his motives and their 
sincerity on that occasion. From the opposite side he is 
not spoken of as in his natural place, and from his own 
he is scarcely esteemed an assured friend. We have seen 
that he intercepted the subsidy sent by Queen Elizabeth 
to the Lords of tiie Congregation. It might do something to 
the clearing away of doubts if we had an account rendered 
by him of his disposal of the money. If he employed it in 
bringing retainers into the field, or in providing Hermitage 
Castle against a siege, then the affair was the interrupting 
of the enem/s supplies and the appropriation of them to 
the public service. But it is spoken of by the English 
more in the tone of a highwayman's feat. For all his vast 
possessions and high offices, he is generally treated by 
these English newswriters as a needy man driven to shifts 
and expedients ; and in the accounts of his success on this 
occasion there are touches of sordidness that are more ap- 
propriate to the border thief than to the great commander.^ 
In the same spirit there were demands that he should ren- 
der up his plunder — demands in a tone that never could 
be used to a hostile commander intercepting the enemy's 
supplies. The whole affair leaves a suspicion that it was 
the disagreeable pressure from the sum he had thus ac- 
quired rather than zeal for the ancient league and the 
ca,use of Queen Mary's mother, that influenced him to 
join that cause against the Lords of the Congregation. 

To the man on whose career and character the corre- 
spondence of the day affords us these casual lights, let us 
now return at that critical point where all eyes were bent 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreign), November 1559, p. 8, 9. 

THE CAREER OF BOTHWELL, 1560-66. 1 73 

on him, and on the queen along with him, as in some shape 
to be sharers in a common destiny. It was becoming evi- 
dent that there was something in her sentiments towards 
him of a warmer nature than those who closely observed it 
could rationally attribute either to a just sense of his pub- 
lic merits or to simple gratitude for his services to herself. 
That she should fix her love on him has always been 
deemed something approaching the unnatural ; but when 
the circumstances are considered, the conclusion ceases to 
become so absolutely startling. Mary was evidently one of 
those to whom at times — and to her the times were apt to 
come in quick succession — a. great affair of the heart is a 
necessity of life ; the necessity now increased in intensity 
by her utter disappointment in her last attachment, and the 
loathing she entertained towards its object Who, then, were 
near her, to be the first refuge for her fugitive affections ? 
None but her own nobles, for she was not in a position to 
treat with a foreign prince; and in looking round among the 
most eminent of these, including Huntly, the brother of a 
former suitor, Argyle, Athole, and Arran, there were none 
who, on the ground of rank and position, had claims much 
higher than Bothwell's, unless it might be Arran by reason 
of his royal blood, and he was already a rejected suitor. In 
personal qualifications Bothwell was infinitely above them 
all. He had a genius for command, with a dash of the chiv- 
alrous, which made Throckmorton describe him to Queen 
Elizabeth in 1560, as '^a glorious, rash, and hazardous 
young man." ^ He had lived at the Court of France, and 
thus had over his harder and more effective qualities the 
polish and accomplishments which were all that Darnley 
had besides his handsomeness to recommend him. Both- 
well, as the incidents in his career show, was restrained 
by no conscientious scruples. They were not, indeed, a 
necessary of life, or even an ordinary possession of tlie 
social circle in which he figured. There, unless a man 
were notoriously addicted to vices now unnamed — Both- 

* Hardwickc's State Papers, i. 149. Perhaps we should tempei 
the word glorious with the prefix **vain," giving it the sense of th# 
Latin as displayed by Terence in his ''miles gloriosus." 


well was but faintly accused of them by bitter enemies — 
he might keep his fame clear. For the matter of ordinary 
profligacy, it lay between himself and his physical consti- 
tution ; and a man like Bothwell had, whether from judi- 
cious control or the strength of his northern constitution, 
the satisfaction of keeping his head clear and his arm steady 
long after many of his companions in like courses had sunk 
into premature senility. He was at a period of life when 
the manly attractions do not begin to decline, for he had 
just passed — if he had passed — ^his thirtieth year. Tradi- 
tion says that he was ill-favoured ; but I do not remember 
any contemporary authority for the assertion, except the 
cursory sketch of him by Brantome, who may have met 
him, but does not speak as if he had.^ The question can- 
not now be decided by the eye, for there does not exist a 
picture which has even the reputation of being his portrait. 

With regard to his rank, it aimed at something higher 
than his means. His comparative poverty, his inability to 
grace by a bountiful outlay the state he aimed at, comes in 
various shapes across his career, and became memorable 
by drawing men's eyes to the vigorous efforts made at 
Court to mend his fortunes. But poor as he was, his recent 
ancestors had been the rivals, and in some measure the suc- 
cessors, of the Douglases, who themselves had been the for- 
midable rivals of the crown. He was thus, to those who 
turned friendly eyes on him, seen in the interesting position 
of the head of a decayed house striving to restore its an- 
cient lustre. In that age of revolutions and forfeitures, 
when property and power rapidly changed hands, such a 
man, to make himself the most powerful subject in the 
realm, required only royal favour ; and this, as we shall 
presently see, was not denied him. 

It is incidentally curious that BothwelPs family had ac- 
quired a reputation for affairs with royal ladies, and is in 
some measure significant, as helping to mitigate that colour 
of the marvellous in which his audacious projects and their 

1 **Ce Bothuel ^toit le plus laid homme et d'aussi mauvaise grace 
q*il se peut Yoir." — Des Dames lUustres, Disc. iii. Buchanan speaks 
of him as like an ape ; but this was when writing at him, and is 
qo more to be taken as accurate than any other scolding objurgation. 


success are generally painted In the Castle of Dunbar, 
held by his father's great-grandfather Hepburn of Hales, 
the widow of James I., the renowned and beautiful Jane 
Beaufort, spent her latter days and died. She had lived 
in a questionable obscurity for some time ; and how or 
why she was under the same roof with Hepburn, whether 
by her own consent or by force, was matter of unsatisfied 
conjecture at the time. A son of this Hepburn was re- 
puted among the many lovers of Mary of Gueldres, the 
widow of James II. Bothwell's father, according to the 
chronicles, was the rival of Darnley's father, Lennox, as a 
suitor of Mary of Guise. The expense which the disap- 
pointed aspirant had incurred in sunning himself at Court 
in his wooing, contributed, as it was said, greatly to the 
ruin of his house. It has to be added to all this, that 
Bothwell had proved himself the devoted champion of the 
queen, protecting her alike from the calculating ambition 
of her brother and the base insults of her wretched hus- 
band. The turning-point seems to have been the murder 
of Rizzio, when Damley showed how much treachery and 
cruelty could be the companions of his folly and feeble- 
ness ; and her champion, by his dexterous escape and 
rapid muster of followers, placed her at once in safety and 
power. In fact, but for the crimes which paved the way 
to the conclusion, the union of Bothwell and Mary would 
have been the natural winding-up of a legitimate romance. 
Remove the unpleasant conditions that both were married, 
and that there was a husband and a wife to be got rid of ere 
the two could be united — substitute honour and virtue for 
treachery and crime — and here are the complete elements 
out of which the providence which presides over romance 
develops the usual happy conclusion. 

Of the influence now held by him at Court, contem- 
porary estimates, however casual or imperfect, are far more 
valuable than those afterwards made, however sagely, with 
a view to account for intervening events. Of such contem- 
porary estimates, something may be traced in the notices 
of Bothwell's career already cited. In these is an allusion 
to a suspected project for putting in Ins hands the whole 
power of the crown over the military force, by endowing him 


with the office of " Lieutenant-General " of the kingdom. 
It will be remembered by the students of English history 
that suspicions of Queen Elizabeth's intention to confer 
an office of the same character and atle on Leicester made 
her advisers very uneasy. On the 28th of September 1 565, 
Bedford, who was gathering news on the border, wrote to 
Cecil about Bothwell : " He is now one of that queen's 
Council, and besides Athole and Ruthven the chiefest man, 
and looks daily to be advanced higher ; *' and on 2d Octo- 
ber, speaking of deficiencies in the garrison of Berwick, 
and the prospects of war : " The saying is in Scotland that 
the queen there has made Bothwell Lieutenant-General of 
her army, now to be set forward." ^ Again, after the lapse 
of several months, on the 27th of July 1567 : "Bothwell 
carries all the merit and countenance in Court He is the 
most hated man among the noblemen, and tlierefore may 
fall out somewhat to his cumber one day, if the queen 
takes not up the ihatter the sooner;" and a few days 
later, — " It is said that the earl's insolence is such as thiat 
David was never more abhorred than he is now.'' Again, 
on the 1 2th of August : " I have heard that there is a de- 
vice working for the Earl of Bothwell, the particularities of 
which I might have heard, but because such dealings like 
me not, I desire to hear no farther thereof. Bothwell has 
grown of late so hated that he cannot long continue- He 
beareth all the sway ; and though Murray be there, and has 
good words, yet can he do nothing." ^ 

A memorable occurrence is connected with the execu- 
tion of his duties as warden of the marches. There came 
one of those occasions of more than average harrying and 
quarrelling which arose at intervals, and it was determined 
to hold a solemn justice aire at Jedburgh, which the queen 
herself was to countenance by her presence. Bothwell 
went to his own Castle of Hermitage, in the centre of the 
disturbed district, to collect offenders for trial at the great 
court His function was more like that of an invading 
general than a head-constable. He had a good deal of 

* Calendar of State Papers (Foreigii). 473, 477. 

• Raumer, 86-88. 


THE CAREER OF BOTH WELL, 1 560-66. 1/7 

hard fighting, in the course of which he was dangerously 
wounded by Elliot of The Park.^ There are disputes about 
the manner of the event, but this is of less consequence 
than that it occurred on the 7 th October. Next day 
the justice aire was opened. When the proceedings had 
gone on for a week, Mary took horse one day and rode to 
the Hermitage, where Bothwell lay awaiting recovery from 
his wound ; and according to Lord Scrope, who sent the 
news to Cecil, she remained two hours, " to Bothwell's 
great pleasure and content," and then galloped back to 
Jedburgh. She had with her there, as official documents 
show, Murray, Huntly, Athole, Rothes, and Caithness, with 
three bishops and the judges and officers of court ; but to 
what extent she was attended on her ride is not very clear. 
It is certain that she could not have had a force sufficient 
to make the adventure safe in a country which was not 
merely lawless in the usual sense of the term, but where 
the sovereign of Scotland was looked on as the great pub- 
lic enemy. The double journey extended to at least forty 
miles over a country which would be felt as singularly 
wild, difficult, and dangerous to a rider of the present day.^ 
About the strength and courage necessary to such a feat 
there can be no question. About the motives which in- 
duced the queen to perform it there have been disputes. 
The affair looked as if she had been under that irresistible 
influence over which selfish reason has no control — to 
know by the sight of the eyes and the hearing of the ears 
the chances for life or death of some beloved object hover- 

^ The shape given to this affair by rumour when it reached Lord 
Scrope, the Warden of the West Marches at Carlisle, was " that the 
Earl of Bothwell, being in Liddesdale, apprehended the Laird of 
Mongerton and Whitehaugh, with other Armstrongs, and put them 
in the Hermitage. And yesterday, going about to take like persons 
of the Elliots, he encountered John Elliot of the Park, and shot him 
with a dag, upon which he assailed the Earl and killed him." — Cal- 
endar of State Papers (Foreign), 137. 

' The Author knows, from having walked over the ground, that 
Hermitage Castle is a stiff twenty miles* journey from J^buigh. It 
is reported, on the authority of tradition, that her horse floundered in 
a marsh, thence called the Queen's Myre ; but if she passed this spot, 
she must have diverged from the direct track. 



ing between the two. On the other hand, it has been 
supposed that she thought it right to undertake this jour- 
ney in the way of business, that she might confer with tiie 
wounded warden of the marches on details connected with 
his performance of his official duties. Whatever was her 
motive, she paid the penalty of her exploit in a strong 
fever, which ran its course, leaving the issues of life and 
death uncertain until the tenth day, when she began to 
revive physically, while those around her still noted symp- 
toms of mental suffering, for which each accounted accord- 
ing to his prepossessions and knowledge. 

When able to move, she went by short journeys to 
Craigmillar, close to Edinburgh. There Le Croc saw her 
in the beginning of December, and said : " She is in the 
hands of the physicians, and I do assure you is not at all 
well ; and I do believe the principal part of her disease to 
consist of a deep grief and sorrow — ^nor does it seem pos- 
sible to make her forget the same. Still she repeats these 
words, * I could wish to be dead.' We know very well 
that the injury she received is exceeding great, and her 
majesty will never forget it. The king her husband came 
to visit her at Jedburgh the day after Captain Hay went 
away. He remained there but one single night, and yet in 
that short time I had a great deal of conversation with him. 
He returned to see the queen about five or six days ago ; 
and the day before yesterday he sent word to desire me to 
speak with him half a league from this, which I complied 
with, and found that things go still worse and worse. I 
think he intends to go away to-morrow ; but in any event, 
I am much assured, as I have always been, that he won't 
be present at the baptism." ^ 

A document of later date throws very instructive light 
on the condition of the Court at this time. It is called 
"The Protestation of the Earls of Huntly and Argyle 
touching the Murder of the King of Scots." ^ It opens 
with an enumeration of the group surrounding the queen 

1 Keith (8vo ed.), xcvi. 

• This document has been frequently printed. It is in Keith, Book 
II. App. xcvi. 


at Craigmillar, including the protesters themselves, Both* 
weD, Murray, and Lethington. The two latter, it states, 
came to Argyle's bedroom before he had risen. Lething- 
ton spoke of the hardship of Ruthven, Morton, and the 
others continuing in banishment for the affair of Rizzio, 
seeing it was done to stop the Parliament and prevent the 
forfeiture of Murray and his friends, and said they thought 
him boimd in all fairness to use his influence for their res- 
toration. Lethington then proposed, as the best means of 
gaining the queen's consent to the restoration, to find means 
of divorcing her from Damley. Huntly was then sent 
for, and the matter propounded to him, with the special 
inducement that the opportunity might be taken to do 
something in his own favour by the restoration of forfeited 
lands. He said he would not stand in the way of the pro- 
ject, and the four then went to lay it before the queen. 
Lethington, still acting as spokesman, opened up on the 
" great number of grievous and intolerable offences *' which 
her ungrateful husband had perpetrated against her, '' and 
continuing every day from evil to worse.'* The divorce 
was then proposed as her best mode of relief. After they 
had plied her with persuasions, the reception given by her 
to the proposal is thus stated by the protesters : " Her 
grace answerit, that under twa conditions she might under- 
stand the same — the ane, that the divorcement were made 
lawfully ; the other, that it war not prejudice to her son — 
otherwise her hyness would rather endure all torments, 
and abyde the perils that might chance her in her grace's 
lifetime. The Earl of Bothwell answered, that he doubted 
not but the divorcement might be made bot prejudice in 
anywise of my lord prince, alleging the example of him- 
self, that he ceased not to succeed to his father's heritage 
without any difficulty, albeit there was divorce betwixt him 
and his mother." 

That she should fear the effect of a divorce on the legiti- 
macy of her child is at first calculated to start strange sus- 
picions as to the facts which such a process, if founded on 
the respective conduct of the husband and wife, would dis- 
close ; but Buchanan, in his celebrated Detection, lets us 
see that the ground of divorce pointed at on the occasion 


was consanguinity. There next follows a passage of a 
strangely suggestive kind : " Then Lethington, taking the 
speedi, said, * Madam, fancy^ ye not we are here of the 
principal of your grace's nobility and Council that sail find 
the moyen that your majesty sail be quit of him without 
prejudice of your son ; and albeit that my Lord of Murray 
here present be little less scrupulous for ane Protestant nor 
your grace is for ane Papist, I am assurit he will look throw 
his fingers thereto, and sail behold our doings, saying no- 
thing to the same.' The queen's majesty answered, * I 
will that ye do nothing whereto any spot may be laid to 
my honour or conscience, and therefore I pray you rather 
let the matter be in the estate as it is, abiding till God of 
His goodness put remeid thereto ; that ye, believing to do 
me service, may possibly turn to my hurt and displeasure.' 
* Madam,' said Lethington, *let us guide the matter amongst 
us, and your grace sail see nothing but good, and approved 
by Parliament* " There is reason to believe that this con- 
versation is pretty accurately reported. In the first place, 
Huntly and Argyle were men of such repute for probity as the 
times permitted ; and Murray, not criticising the accuracy 
of the statement, merely denied that he had entered into 
any band or engagement for the murder, and in fact justi- 
fied the expressive gesture described by Lethington, oi 
holding his hand before his face, as if to hide what was in 
progress from his eyes, yet seeing it all the while. Let us 
look at the object of the protestation. Its object was to 
vindicate the queen firom the charge that she had been *' of 
the foreknowledge, counselled, devised, and conmianded 
the murder." The protesters count that Lethington, in 
the words quoted, did announce the murder; and the 
manner in which they make this bear on the queen's vin- 
dication is that, being assured that the deed would be done 
by others, there was no occasion why she should dip her own 
hands in blood — ^no occasion for her to " counsel, devise, 
persuade, and command " the deed. True, what was to- 

* This word "fancy" is supposed to be a mistake for "soncy" — 
se saucier; but whatever may have been the intended word, it docs not 
much affect the tenor. 


be done was to be "approved by Parliament," and Parlia- 
ment did not approve of it in the way in which it came to 
be done. But whether there was a sincere intention to 
walk in such a manner as to secure the sanction of the 
Estates, the one thing clear is that a promise was made to 
rid the queen of her unendurable husband, and that with- 
out a divorce. Huntly and Argyle, it may be noticed, did 
not pen their protest for an age when it would be consid- 
ered either very improbable or very horrible, that a woman 
situated as Mary was would be glad of the assurance that 
she would be relieved of her husband without requiring to 
to do anything that would compromise her own safety. 

As all seemed to expect, Damley was absent from the 
baptism of the young prince on the 17th of December; 
and his conduct was the more emphatic, as he was then 
living in Stirling Castle, where the ceremony was per- 
formed. Bothwell did the honours of the occasion, as 
one to whom such a function came naturally ; and it was 
remarked as rather anomalous that a Protestant should 
have been selected to adjust and direct a ceremonial con- 
ducted under the forms of the Romish Church.^ The 
despised husband went about pouring out his grievances to 
all who would listen to them, and became so troublesome 
that the French ambassador had to threaten that if 
Damley entered his house by one door he would himself 
leave it by the other. Meanwhile, among the events now 
hurrying upon each other, those who pressed for the par- 
don of Rizzio's murderers were successful as to all but 
George Douglas and Ker of Faudonside, who had com- 
mitted, or at all events threatened, violence in the royal 

Damley was now seized with a sudden and acute ill- 
ness, which broke out cutaneously. Poison was at first 
naturally suspected. The disease was speedily pronounced 
to be smallpox ; but it has been conjectured that it may 

^ *' Bothwell is appointed to receive the ambassadors, and all things 
for the christening is at his appointment, and the same scarcely liked 
with the rest of the nobility.*'— Forster to Cecil, i ith Dec. ; Calendar 
of State Papers (Foreign). 


have been one of those forms of contamination which had 
then begun to make their silent and mysterious visitation 
m this country, while the immediate cause by which they 
were communicated was yet unknown. From what 
occurred afterwards, it became a current belief that he 
had been poisoned. He was removed to Glasgow, and 
tended under the direction of his father, Lennox. 

His enemies waited to see if nature would relieve them 
of the work before them ; but as he began to recover, they 
began to be active. Their hands were strengthened by 
the assistance of Morton, Ruthven, and the other fugitives 
who had been pardoned, and whose restoration was no 
doubt facilitated by the work in prospect for them. That 
all things might be done duly and in order, a bond for 
the slaughter of the king was prepared. The drafting of 
this important document was committed to James Balfour, 
the greatest lawyer of his day. No copy of it has been 
preserved, and what we chiefly know about it is from 
dubious sources.^ In the confession afterwards uttered by 
Morton on his downfall, he stated that Bothwell met him 
at Whittinghame, and in a long communing tried to per- 
suade him to join in a plot for the murder of the king, 
telling him it was the queen's desire that he should be 
removed, and *' she would have it to be done." Morton 
says, having just got out of one troublesome affair, he was 
averse to immediately engaging in another ; and put it off 
at the time by desiring, before he committed himself, to be 
assured of the queen's wish under the evidence of her own 
hand. He says that afterwards, when he was in St An- 
drews visiting the Earl of Angus, Archibald Douglas came 
to him from Bothwell to press the matter; but he had now 

^ The Laird of Ormiston, in his confession, professed to cite a part 
of it from memory, to this effect : " That for saemickle it was thought 
expedient and maist profitable for the commonwealth, by the haiU 
nobiUty and lords mider subscry vit, that sic ane young fool and pro^id 
tyrant suld not reign or bear rule over them ; and that for divers 
causes, therefore, they all had concluded that he suld be put off by 
ane way or another — and whosoever suld take the deed in hand, oi 
do it, uiey suld defend and fortify it as themselves." — Pitcairo, L 

SI 2*, 


the good excuse that he had been promised a writmg under 
the queen's hand, and had not received it. When asked 
why he did not reveal the plot, he said significantly, " I 
durst not reveal it for fear of my life; for at that time to 
whom should I have revealed it ? To the queen ? She 
was the doer thereof. I was minded, indeed, to the king's 
father [viz., Damley himself], but that I durst not for my 
life ; for I knew him to be such a bairn, that there was 
nothing told him but he would reveal it to her again." -^ 

Completely in harmony with the part acted by these 
performers in the tragedy, a change came over the con- 
duct of the queen. She employed her ductile arts on her 
diseased, suspicious, terrified husband. She set herself to 
the task of quieting his fears and luring him back to her 
arms. She announced that she would visit him on his 
sick-bed; and she set forth on her journey on the 2 2d of 
January 1567. A confidential friend of her husband's 
family was sent to meet her. He is usually called 
" Thomas Craufurd, a gentleman of Lennox's household." 
Although Lennox held something of a court, this title is apt 
to carry an imperfect impression of Craufurd's social posi- 
tion. He was a near kinsman of Lennox, and consequently 
of the queen's husband. We shall afterwards hear of him in 
the civil war of 1569 as Captain Craufiird of JordanhDl. He 
was, in the mean time, intrusted by the father of the sick 
man to attend this critical meeting between the husband 
and wife, and to observe and tell to his lord all that passed. 
It was a duty of some moment ; for Lennox evidently be- 
Ueved that the visit was connected with some deadly pur- 
pose, and he was striving to fathom it. Craufurd was in- 
structed to report everything he saw and all he heard 
passing between the two. The question how they con- 
ducted themselves and what they said to each other be- 

^ Confession, in Bannatyne's Memorials; Bannatyne edit, 317. 
This meeting at Wbittinghame was noted at the time by the political 
gossips. '*The Lord Morton lies at the Laird of Whittingham'si 
where the Lord Bothwell and Lethington came of late. Here they 
look for Lethington or Melville very shortly to repair (wherefore I refer 
it to your honour's conjecture) [cancelled]." — Drary to Cecil, 23d 
January 1567; Calendar of State Papers (Foreign). 

1 84, QUEEN MARy. 

came afterwards momentous, and holds so important a 
place in the history of a year or two later, that we may 
pass it over for the present, merely noting that Mary pre- 
vailed on her husband to agree that, after he had made 
some advance towards recovery, he would live at Craig- 
millar Castle for a time, and take the bath there. 

After the queen departed, there came a word or two 
between her husband and Craufurd, remarkable in their 
way. The sick man asked Craufurd what he thought of 
the project for removing him. Craufurd did not like it. 
Taking her husband to Craigmillar instead of his own 
place of residence was odd — ^it seemed as if she were 
going to take him more like a prisoner than a hus- 
band. Then came this from the sick man : "He answered 
that he thought little less himself, and feared himself 
meikle — save the confidence he had in her promise only ; 
notwithstanding, he would go with her, and put himself in 
her hands, though she should cut his throat, and besought 
God to be judge unto them baith." ^ 

A few days afterwards she had her husband removed to 
Edinburgh, so that he arrived there on the last day of 
January. The purpose of conveying him to Craigmillar 
was changed. Yet he was told that he would not be 
taken to Holyrood, but to a place close to the city wall 
called the Kirk-of-Field. He knew that there stood the 
great hotel of the Hamilton family, and expected to be 
taken to it ; but the house destined for him was a smaller 
building, the residence of the provost of the collegiate 
church of St Mary-in-the-Fields, which conveniently be- 
longed to Robert Balfour, the brother of the drafter of the 
bond. This was one of the ecclesiastical establishments 
wrecked by the English invaders. From this or some 
other cause the provosf s house seems to have been 
singularly destitute of defences for a building of that age ; 
and Nelson, Damley's page, tells that a small door, which 
appears to have given access to the whole building from 
the courtyard, was taken off by the queen's orders, to 
cover the vat or tub in which the convalescent took his 

^ Record Office, Scots Correspondence, toL xiii. No. 14. 


bath, as if nothing more appropriate could be found for 
such a purpose. Several incidental details speak clearly 
of the hasty occupation of a building which, however 
suitable for other purposes, was not adapted to tranquillity 
and security. An effort seems to have been made to 
give comfort and even a touch of regal magnificence to 
the apartments by hangings and furniture, conveniently 
aflforded from the affluent supplies obtained by the plunder 
of Strathbogie in the conflict with Huntly.^ For all that 
could be thus superficially done for it, the establishment 
seems to have been of the most sordid and slovenly char- 
acter. The key of a door leading out through the city 
wall could not be found, and the door had to be nailed 
up from within. Of the other keys it was remarked that 
they were left in the possession of Balfour's people ; and 
the conspirators appear, for more security, to have forged 

1 **The hall was hung with five pieces of tapestry, part of the 
plunder of Strathbogie. It had a high chair or chair of state covered 
with leather, and a dais or cloth of state of black velvet fringed with 
black silk. The walls of the king's chamber on the upper floor were 
hung with six pieces of tapestry which, like the hangings of the hall, 
had been spoiled from the Gordons after Corrichie. The floor had a 
little Turkey carpet. There were two or three cushions of red velvet, 
a high chair covered with purple velvet, and a little table with a 
broad cloth or cover of green velvet, brought from Strathbogie. The 
bed, which had belonged to the queen's mother, was given to the 
king in August 1566. It was hung with violet-brown velvet, pas- 
mented with cloth of gold and silver, and embroidered with ciphers 
and flowers in needlework of gold and silk. It had three coverlets, 
one being of blue taffeta quilted. . . , The wardrobe, which seems 
to have been on the upper floor, was hung with six pieces of tapestry, 
figuring a rabbit-hxmt. Here there was a cabinet of yellow shot 
taffeta, fringed with red and yellow silk. In a chamber on the ground 
floor, directly under the king's chamber, there was a little bed of 
yellow and green damask, wi£ a furred coverlet, in which the queen 
slept on the nights of Wednesday and Friday, and intended to sleep 
on the very night in which the king was muridered." — Queen Mary s 
Inventories, Pref. xcviii.-c. 

From the same accurate pen we have the following estimate of 
the accommodation of the house: "The provost's place contained 
a hall, two chambers or bedrooms, a cabmet, a wardrobe, and a 
cellar, besides a kitchen, apparently under another roof. Of these 
rooms only three or four seem to have been fiimished from Holy 
rood."— Ibid. 


duplicates of them, in case they should have been required 
to give them up.* 

Sunday, the 9th of February, was at last fixed for the 
great project, probably because, being the marriage-day 

^ Buchanan, in his Detection, gives a hideously-eloquent description 
of the sordidness of the place ; and as he appealed to a public 
who knew it as well as he did, he cannot well have gone beyond 
bounds ! — 

'' Whidder then is he led ? Into the maist desolate part of the 
towne, sumtyme inhabitit while the Papische preistis kingdome lestit, 
bot for certane yeiris past without ony dwaller, in sic a hous as of it- 
self wald haif fallin downe, yif it had not bene botched up for the 
tyme to serve the tume of this nichtis sacrifice. Why was this place 
cSiiefly chosin ? Thay pretend the helsumnes of air. O gude God ! 
going about to murther hir husband, seikis scho for ane helsum air ? 
To what use ? Not to preserve his lyfe, bot to reserve his body to 
torment. Heirto tend hir wyfelie diUgent attendance, and hir last 
xair of hir husbandis lyfe. Schoe feiris leist he suld, be preventing 
deith, be delyverit from pane, schoe wald fane have him feoll himseu 
die. Bot let us se what maner of helsumnes of air it is. Is it amang 
deid mennis graves to seik the preserving of lyfe ? For hard by thair 
were the ruynes of twa kirkis : on the eist syde, ane monasterie of 
Dominike freiris ; on the west, ane kirk of our Lady, whilk, for the 
desolatenes of the place, is callit the ICirk in the Feild ; on the south 
syde, the towne wall, and in the same, for commodious passage 
every way, is ane posteme dure ; on the north syde ar ane few 
b^geris cotages, then reddy to fall, whilk sumtime servit for stewis 
for certane preistis and monkis, the name of whilk place dois planely 
disclois the forme and nature thairof, for it is commounly callit the 
Theif Raw. Thair is never ane uther hous neir bot the Hammil- 
tounis hous, whilk is about ane stanis cast distant, and that also 
stude voyde. Thether remuisit the Archebischop of Sanctandrois, 
wha alway befoir was wont to be ludgeit in the maist populous partis 
of the towne. He also watchit all that nicht the king was slane. 

" Now I beseik yow, sen ye cannot with your eyis, yit at the leist 
with your mjrndes behald, ane hous whilum of atdd preistis, amang 
graves, betwene the ruvnes of twa tempillis, itself also mynous, neir 
to the theifis hant, and itself ane resetter of theifis, not hi from the fort 
and garrisoun of his enemeis, that stude richt over aganis the dure, 
be whilk yif ony man suld fle out, he culd not eschaip thaur traterous 
ambuschment The verray schape of this place, when ye considder 
in your m3md, when ye heir of the ruynes of kirkis, graves of deid 
men, lurking comeris of theifis, bordemousis of harlotis, — dois not, I 
say, not the hous only, bot also everie part neir about it, seme to 
prodame mischeif and trecherie ? Semis heir ane king to have gme 
into a hoos for ludgeing, or to be thrust into ane den of theifis ? Was 

THE KIRK-OF-FIELD, 1567. 1 8/ 

of the queen's favoured French domestic Bastiat to one 
of her women, the ceremonials and festivities of the oc- 
casion afforded opportunities for doing what was to be 
done. From the testimony and confessions afterwards 
taken, imperfect as they are, a clear enough history can be 
gleaned of the greater part of the doings of the active 
hands, even if we should exclude from consideration 
those portions in which they exculpate themselves, along 
with those which, as directly inculpating the queen, are 
maintained by her champions to be incredible. 

To follow accurately the course of events, it is necessary 
to keep in view one or two specialties which will enable 
one to single out from existing Edinburgh the geography 
of the ground gone over. The town formed itself then on 
the two great thoroughfares running east and west, the 
High Street and the Cowgate. The city wall cut through 
on the line where St Mary's Wynd and Leith Wynd now 
meet at the foot of the High Street, and there stood the 
Canongate Port, the space between it and Holyrood being 
occupied by the suburb of Canongate. Where the wall 
passed the Cowgate, at the foot of the present St Mary's 
Wynd, was the Cowgate Port. The wall there kept the 
same southerly direction to a bastion or turret near the 
present Infirmary, where it turned at right angles, running 
west. The next break was the Potterrow Port, before 
reaching which it passed close on the grounds of the 
Kirk-of-Field, the nearest existing landmark to which is 
the present College. 

The persons known beyond the arch-conspirator as 
having had an actual hand in canying out the plot were, 
Nicholas Hubert, called French Paris, a creature of 
Bothweirs, whom he had brought from France and placed 
in the service of the queen ; George Dalgleish and Wil- 
liam Powrie, in BothwelFs service and confidence ; Hep- 
bum of Bolton, his relation ; Patrick Wilson, his tailor 
or master of the robes ; Ormiston, the laird of that ilk, 

not that desolate waistnes, that unhantit place, abill of itself to put 
nmpill men in feir, to mak wyser men suspicious, and to give nouchtie 
men schrewit occasionis ? " — P. 66>69. 


and his uncle, called Hob Ormiston ; and Hay, the heir of 
Talla, a district in the wildest part of the border mountains. 

The first event noticed on Sunday was that Murray, 
after breakfast, bade a formal farewell to the queen as he 
was departing to join his wife; and Hubert, who took 
note of this, says he saw that that good man desired to be 
away while mischief was going on. The queen attended 
the marriage of her favourites, partook of the marriage- 
dinner, and then supped with the Countess of Argyle, ap- 
parently about four o'clock. Hubert, who stood behind 
a chair, says she was solicitous about a coverture of marten- 
skins which she had directed him, through Margaret Craw- 
ford, to remove the day before from the Kirk-of-Field. 
She asked him now if it had been removed, and he satis- 
fied her that it had. Bothwell was among the guests ; and 
when they rose, he went to his mother's apartments, 
attended by Hubert. They then went and found Ormiston 
and his uncle Hob, with whom they joined Hay and 
Hepburn on the street of the Canongate. BothweU then 
took Hubert to the Kirk-of-Field, and gave him such 
directions that, when the others came to transact business 
there, he should be on duty in the king's chamber. 

The rest returned to the abbey or palace, where it has 
to be observed that Bothwell had permanent apartments. 
In these a quantity of powder was stored in bags or 
" pocks." Two large receptacles were provided for the 
removal of these, one of them apparently a common trunk, 
the other a mail or travelling-trunk. These were carried 
by two horses, and it took two journeys to remove the 
whole. They were taken round by the outside of the 
wall. Near the Kirk-of-Field there was an old gate in the 
wall, called the Blackfriars Gate, not one of the regular 
occupied ports. Ormiston managed to get on the other 
side of the wall by the help of some ruins, and opened 
the gate. They had brought a cask with them to stow 
the powder in, but it was too large to get admission to 
the room where the train was to be laid. This room was 
the queen's bedroom, just under the king's, and her bed 
had to be shifted to make room for the train. It was 
brought in by the men in the original sackfuls, and this 

MURDER OF DARNLEY, 1567. 1 89 

appears to have been a long, silent process. Bothwell at 
one time feared that it might be heard in the room above, 
and with a fierce whisper enjoined more quietness. They 
were at a loss for light ; and, among other incidents, we 
are told that they bought six halfpenny candles from 
Geordie Bums's wife in the Cowgate. 

Powrie and Wilson took back the empty boxes, and on 
their way saw "the queen's grace, witii torches before 
her," going along the Blackfriars* Wynd to join the king. 
This seems to have been about ten o'clock. It was un- 
derstood that, according to recently-established practice, 
she was to sleep that night in the chamber under the 
king's. She went first, however, up to the king's chamber, 
passing the door of her own, like an affectionate wife, 
whose first care was her sick husband. There was gene- 
ral conversation in the room, in the midst of which she 
suddenly recollected that she had promised to attend the 
masked ball to be held- in the palace in honour of Bastiat's 
marriage, and must be oflf immediately. She bade her 
husband a very affectionate farewell for the night, and 
departed. Had she gone into her own chamber, she 
would have seen the bed removed and the sacks of pow- 
der lying there. But she did not go to it ; and it is for 
every one to conjecture whether it was or was not known 
beforehand that she would keep out of that apartment. 
To prevent stray intrusions, Hubert kept the key. 

The queen and her attendants, including Bothwell, 
having gone, Hepbmn of Bolton and Hay of Talla only 
of the conspirators remained. How they occupied them- 
selves is now the chief mystery in the whole affair ; and 
from subsequent circumstantial evidence it has been con- 
jectured that the intended victim, with his page, disco- 
vered them, attempted to escape, and got even over a 
wall into a garden, when they were seized and strangled. 
They were found without any marks from the explosion, 
but with marks of other violence, 

Bothwell went to his apartments in the palace and 
changed his black velvet hose and doublet of satin, both 
trussed with silver, for a coarser doublet and dark muffled 
cloak, such as the Schwartz-ritters wore, and passed forth. 


accompanied by his immediate followers, Dalgleish, Hu- 
bert, Powrie, and Wilson. They were challenged by the 
sentinels on duty at the palace, but they said they were 
friends — friends of the Earl of Bothwell ; and this powerful 
name silenced everything. They came to the Canongate 
Port, and finding it closed — for it was now twelve o'clock 
■—called out to Galloway, the keeper, to open for friends 
of my Lord Bothwell ; and here, again, there was imme- 
diate obedience. They took this way apparently that 
they might pick up Ormiston ; but he managed not to be 
found, though he told in his confession that he was in bed 
asleep, and the rest went down by the Blackfriars. There 
Bothwell left his followers behind the wall, and joined 
Hepburn and Hay, who had already lighted the traia 
It seems to have been carefully laid, and burned so long 
that Bothwell, overcome by impatience, was on the point 
of going to look at it when the great crash came. 

He was not a man to do things by halves; and he 
seems to have provided so large a train that the effect ex- 
ceeded his expectation. Little was known then of the 
expansive force of gunpowder, and the extent of its de- 
structiveness when confined within walls ; and the build- 
ing was so completely shattered, as to lead to the supposi- 
tion that it had been systematically mined. The explosion 
shook the earth, and all Edinburgh was roused from sleep. 
The murderers had to escape rapidly, and it is probable 
that they may thus have been obliged to abandon a small 
detail necessary for the completion of their work in a 
satisfactory manner. Certainly they eitlier intended to 
kill their victim by the explosion, or make it appear that 
he had been so killed. If he was killed in trying to escape, 
then of course it would have been desirable that the body 
should be taken back into the house, that it might, wher- 
ever it should be found, bear marks of the explosion, firom 
which it was observed to be exempt If he tried to 
escape, and was murdered after the lighting of the lint, it 
was too late to bring the body back ; and, with all the 
world rushing to the spot, it was hopeless to remedy the 
matter after the explosion. The party were within the 


town walls, and seemed desirous to escape through the 
streets by an outlet distant from the Kirk-of-Field. They 
attempted what they thought a weak part of the wall at 
Leith Wynd, but found it too high for them, and had to 
apply again to the keeper of the Canongate Port, whc 
again yielded to the demand of the Lord Bothwell's friends 
and let them pass. Bothwell got as rapidly as possible 
to his apartments in the palace, took a draught of wine, 
and tumbled into bed, to be roused, as if from slumber, 
half an hour afterwards, by a messenger informing him of 
the tragedy. He called out " Treason 1 " donned his gar- 
ments, and went forthwith to the queen, along with 
Huntly, who joined him. It was then, apparently, between 
three and four o'clock. 

Of the way in which the masked ball came off, we hear 
but little. It was probably a very gay and joyous affair ; 
for Bastiat, in whose honour it was held, was a merry 
fellow, and especially expert at devising mummeries. It 
was he who, on the occasion of a Court pageant, had dis- 
turbed the equanimity of the English embassy, by the 
provocative manner in which his satyrs wagged their tails 
in the face of these grave personages. The mask was 
long over, and all had retired before the explosion 
roused them. Bothwell and Huntly, when they sought 
audience of the queen at an untimely hour, had of course 
the excuse of a general alarm ; and ostensibly, it appears 
that they informed her that there had occurred an accident 
from gunpowder at the Kirk-of-Field, as to which imme- 
diate inquiry was promised. Bothwell, it appears, returned 
between eight and nine o'clock to inform her that she was 
a widow, and held audience with her within the curtain of 
her bed — a matter which the royal customs of the time 
render of no further moment than as it imported that 
the communing was close and secret, excluding all other 
of the queen's advisers.^ 

* Sir James Melville says that "Bothwell, when he came fiirth, 
told him that her majesty was sorrowful and quiet" He then told 
Melville that one of the most extraordinary things had come to pass- 


Meanwhile a crowd gathered round the scene of the ex- 
plosion, eager and anxious to find what the late dawn of 
the winter sun would reveal. 

that powder had come down from the '*luft" or sky, and burnt the 
house of the king, whose body was found under a tree. He recom- 
mended Melville to go and see the body, and observed "how that 
there was not a hurt nor a mark in all his body ; '' but Sir James was 
not successful in his attempts to get access to the place where the 
body lay. — ^Memoirs, 174. 





The smallest incidents at Holyrood immediately aflei 
the murder — ^the very inertness itself, almost reaching a 
sort of political paralysis — deserve close attention from 
their significance. It is useless to join in the common 
wonder, founded on the practice regarding crimes in the 
present day, why immediate investigation was not made 
as to the procuring and canying of the powder, the mak- 
ing of the false keys, the movements of the perpetrators, 
and the like. The question was not so much who could 
speak, as who would; and the latter question would have 
to be decided by the tenor of political events. In fact all 
the world knew who were the doers of the deed. Among 
persons conspicuous in the history of the time there was 
one, and only one, person who seemed to be ignorant of 



the party guiltiest of all. It was a knowledge along witli 
which some entertained an approval of the deed, while 
others were prepared to employ it in punishment if they 
should have the opportunity. The one exception to this 
general admission was the queen, who could not or would 
not believe that her beloved follower was the great 

Bothwell immediately did the part of the prompt and 
considerate friend, who in the hour of calamity relieves 
the bereaved of the irksome duties of the household. He 
took on himself, in fact, the functions of Governor of Scot- 
land, and with immediate success ; for there was nobody 
who could cope with one so prompt and audacious, sup- 
ported as he was by the devout reliance of his royal mis- 
tress. As morning dawned, the citizens naturally con- 
tinued to gather to the Kirk-of-Field Bothwell sent a 
strong guard to the spot, and directed the bodies to be 
removed. During the day the ambassadors of France and 
Savoy desired an inspection of the king's body, which was 
refused. This was cited, along with other like instances, 
to show that the murderer was keeping out of sight the 
chief real evidence of his crime ; but sudi suspicions are 
natural to such an event They are caused by excitement 
and disappointed curiosity. In this instance there was 
little concealment or motive for it No one pretended 
that the death had been accidental, or breathed a doubt 
that there had been murder. 

Mary at first adopted the decorous gloom proper to her 
situation, and shut herself out from the world. It was a 
carriage not only blameless but laudable, yet it aptly 
served the purpose of him who was becoming the ruler of 
her actions. On the second day of her widowhood we 
have the eariiest indication of the policy she intended to 
pursue. It is addressed to her worthy councillor, Beaton, 
the titular Archbishop of Glasgow, in whose eyes she ever 
wished to stand well The letter is so significant that it is 
given in full : — 

" Most reverend father in God, and trusty councillor, 
we greet ye well. We have received this morning your 
letters of the 27th January by your servant, Robert Duty, 

AFTER THE MURDER, 1567. 195 

containing in ane part such advertisement as we find by 
effect over true, albeit the success has not altogether been 
such as the authors of that mischievous fact had precon- 
ceived in their mind, and had put it in execution, if God 
in His mercy had not preserved us, and reserved us, as 
we trust, to the end that we may take a rigorous ven- 
geance of that mischievous deed, which or it should re- 
main unpunished, we had rather lose life and all. The 
matter is horrible and so strange, as we believe the like 
was never heard of in any country. This night past, being 
the 9th February, a little after two hours after midnight, 
the house wherein the king was lodged was in an instant 
blown in the air, he Ipng sleeping in his bed, with such a 
vehemence that of the whole lodging, walls and other, 
there is nothing remained, no, not a stone above another, 
but all either carried far away, or dimg in dross to the very 
ground-stone. It mon be done by force of powder, and 
appears to have been a mine. By whom it has been done, 
or in what manner, it appears not as yet We doubt not 
but, according to the diligence our Council has begun 
already to use, the certainty of all shall be usit shordy ; 
and the same being discovered, which we wot God will 
never suflfer to lie hid, we hope to punish the same with 
such rigour as shall serve for example of this cruelty to all 
ages to come. Always, whoever have taken this wicked 
enterprise in hand, we assure ourself it was dressit as well 
for us as for the king ; for we lay the most part of all the 
last week in that same lodging, and was there accompanied 
with the most part of the lords that are in this town that 
same night at midnight, and of very chance tarried not 
all night, by reason of some mask in the abbey ; but we be- 
lieve it was not chance, but Gk>d that put it in our head. 

"We despatched this bearer upon the sudden, and 
therefore write to you the more shortly. The rest of your 
letter we shall answer at more leisure, within four or five 
days, by your own servant And so for the present com- 
mit you to Almighty God. At Edinburgh the i ith day oi 
February 1566-67." ^ 

^ Labanoff, ii. 3, 4. 


The original of this letter is now lost, and we have not 
the means of knowing whether it was written in her own 
hand. The probability is that it was not.^ But there is 
no doubt that it is her own. Whether her own device or 
that of her master, it was a bold stroke. It was to stamp 
at once the impression that she was to have been one of 
the victims, and that her own escape was a great marvel 
of the tragedy. This attempt was a failure. Circumstances 
at once showed that the safety of the queen was essential 
to the designs of the conspirators, and they were too ex- 
pert to be likely to make any serious blunder. There is 
a secondary point in this letter, in which it agrees with 
the first impression made by the immediate aspect of the 
affair. She promptly assumes that the explosion came 
from a mine. This idea prevailed elsewhere, and the 
question of her good faith in starting it depends on whether 
she knew or did not know that the powder was piled in 
her own sleeping-room. 

On Wednesday, two days after the discovery of the 
bodies, proclamation was made that a reward of two 
thousand pounds would be paid to any one who would 
reveal the author of the murder. Among the community, 
who knew perfectly the chief actor at least, none ventured 
to earn this money by an open denunciation ; but a writ- 
ing was affixed to the door of the Tolbooth or Parlia- 
ment House, naming Bothwell, Balfour, and Chambers, 
and "black Mr John Spence," as the guilty persons. 
Another placard followed, naming as inferior actors in 
the tragedy, Signor Francis, Bastiat, John of Bordeaux, 
and Joseph Rizzio. 

The event seems to have caused much more excitement 
among the citizens than its perpetrators expected. The 
age and the country were familiar with violent deaths. In 
France, Spain, and the Empire, the labours of the civilians 
had surrounded sovereigns with a sort of sanctity which 
claimed inviolability for their persons. Violence to 
monarchs was thus by degrees removed into a separate 
category from other outrages, and partook of sacrilege. 

^ See above, p. 59. 


This doctrine had, however, but faintly penetrated to 
Scotland, where the people were practically familiar 
with stories of the death of kings. A party was arising 
who argued that rulers should be specially responsible 
for their misconduct ; but then these were people of sober 
rigid walk, who abjured crime and violence,' and de- 
manded that the responsibility should be enforced with 
order and decorum. The method, too, of the deed, de- 
veloping in an astounding manner the unknown, and it 
might be illimitable, powers of the mysterious chemical 
agent just added to the forces at the command of man, 
was far more adapted to rouse the populace than any 
common stabbing or hanging. The feelings of the citi- 
zens of Edinburgh rapidly heated up to strong excitement, 
and Buchanan mentions that voices were heard in the 
street at dead of night denouncing the murderers.^ It 
was a natural result of the general excitement that those 
who dared not speak openly should give utterance in the 
dark, and also that midnight denunciations were heard 
with mysterious awe.^ 

1 As all the picturesque accounts of the state of the public mind at 
this time are taken from Buchanan, we will get at the clearest state- 
ment by takinghis own words : ^* Leist the mater suld seme not to 
be regardit, out gais ane proclamation with rewardis promysit to him 
that odd gif information of it. But wha durst accuse the quene ? Or 
(whilk was in maner mair perillous) wha durst detect Bothwell of sic 
ane horribill offence, specially when he himself was baith doer, judge, 
inquyrer, and examiner? Yit this feir whilk stoppit the mouthis of 
everie man in particulaire, culd not restrane the haill multitude in 
general ; for baith be buikis set out and be pictures, and be cryis in 
the darke nicht, it was sa handillit, that the doeris of the mischevous 
£eict micht esilie imderstand that thay secreitis of thairis wer cum 
abrode. And when everie man was now out of dout wha did the 
murther, and wha gaif furtherance unto it, the mair that thay lau- 
bourit to keep thair awin names undiscloisit, sa mekle the pepilis 
grudge restranit, brak out mair oppinlie." — Detection, Anderson, ii. 
25, 26. More tersely it is put in his history : *' Nam et libellis pro- 
positis, et pictura, et noctumis per tenebras clamoribus effectum est, 
ut parricide facile intelligerent arcana sua noctuma in vulgus pro- 
dilsse."— Lib. xviii 20. 

* The street cries were important enough to have a place in politi- 
cal correspondence. On the loth of April, Sir William Drury tells 
Cedl of a man — ^with four or five others to guard him— who nightly 



Two days after the proclamation, the body of the mur- 
dered man was buried in the Chapel of Holyrood with a 
secrecy that attracted as much attention as any feature of 
the affair.^ It is noted that on the day of the funeral 
Bothwell obtained an accession of fortune in a gift of the 
reversal of the feudal superiority over the town of Leith, 
and that Damley's servant Drummond, who stood under 
heavy suspicion of treachery, got a pension and an office 
near the person of the infant prince.^ Two days after- 
wards, on the Sunday after the murder, the queen went to 
Seton Palace, in Haddingtonshire, about twelve miles from 
Edinburgh.^ There she had for her Court the ever-pre- 
sent Bothwell, with his supporters Argyle, Huntly, Seton 
their entertainer, Secretary Lethington, and John Hamil- 
ton, the restless Archbishop of St Andrews.* 

goes about certain streets crying, rather in an illogical shape, ** Ven- 
geance on those who caused me to shed innocent blood. O Lord, 
open the heavens and pour down vengeance on me and those that 
have destroyed the innocent." — Calendar of State Papers (Foreign). 

^ Those curious in such matters will find in the third volume of 
the Scottish Archseologia, p. 80, printed from the originals, the 
'* Precepts issued on the death of Henry Damley, King of Scotland, 
for perfuming his body, and for providing a mourning dress to Mary 
Queen of Scots on the occasion." A certain Martin Picauet acknow- 
ledges receipt of ** auatre vintz livres Toum pour lambanment de 
Roy." One would like to know whether Martin Picauet was so 
skilled in anatomy as to be likely to detect the method of the death 
of a corpse on which he practised the embalmer*5 art. These docu- 
ments go for what they are worth in any questions both about the 
sordidness of the fimeial and the desire to keep the body from inspec- 
tion. In the paper in the Hopetoun MS. that goes by the name of 
" The Book of Articles, " there is the following : * * In manifest hatrent " 
"againis his daid body, she causit the same be brocht fra the Kirk of 
field to the said Chapell of Halyrud hous be certane soldiers, pynouris, 
and otheris vile personis, upoun ane auld blok of forme of tre ; and 
after that the corps had lyne certain dayis in the chapell quhair 
alswa she beheld it, the same corps without any decent order was 
cast in the nyt without any ceremony or company of honest men." 

' Malcolm Laing (Edit 1804), i. 49. 

s The best authority for the exact sequence of the events is the 
Diurnal of Occurrents. 

^ In the Diurnal of Occurrents, however, it is stated that she "left 
the Erlis of Huntly and Bothwill in the Palice of Halyrudhons, to 
keip the prince onto her returning." 


The caterers for information to be sent to England 
picked up expressive stories of the way in which the group 
conducted themselves. The queen and Bothwell, it was 
said, amused themselves in shooting at the butts, and 
having together won a match against Seton and Huntly, 
the losers entertained the winners at dinner in Tranent.^ 
What means that place possessed for entertaining royalty 
in the sixteenth century it were hard to say : it is now a 
smoky, cindery, colliers* village, rife with whisky-shops, 
and lately achieved notoriety, in the course of the Govern- 
ment sanitary inquiries, by its excessive filth and unhealthi- 
ness. The queen's vindicators are justified in holding 
that such a scene was much at variance with the usual 
decorum of her deportment, and the less partial will admit 
it to be inconsistent with her powers of dissimulation; 
but there remains the consideration that she was then the 
victim of an infatuation which broke through all the de- 
fences of her strong nature. However it be, she had 
presently more important matters to occupy her. The 
denunciatory placards were repeated, and Joseph Rizzio, 
Bastiat, and the other humble foreigners whose names ap- 
peared on these formidable documents, prudently managed 
one by one to slip out of the country, knowing that what- 
ever turn matters took they must be in imminent peril 

A new actor now steps upon the scene— one likely to 
bring practical conclusions out of the general chaos of 
doubts, m)rsteries, and suspicions. The father of the 
murdered man demands justice, and calls on the widow, 
as the person who has the power, and ought of all others 
to be the most earnest towards that end, to take vigorous 
steps for the discovery of the guilty persons. The cor- 
respondence between the queen and old Lennox is among 
the most significant of all the tell-tale documents of that 
crisis, and is well worthy of careful examination. Unfor- 
tunately the beginning, a letter from Lennox and the 

* Dniry to Cecfl, dted by Tytler. That there were light doings at 
Seton is asserted also by Buchanan. In a diary of occurrences 
marked by Cecil (Forbes, ii. 269), it is said that at Seton she and 
Bothwell " passed their tyme mexyly." 


queen's answer, is lost. The reply of Lennox on the 20th 
of Febraary is as reverential as, coming from the meanest 
of the queen's subjects, it could have been. He has re- 
ceived her most comfortable letter, for which he renders 
her highness most humble thanks, and he trusts never to 
deserve otherwise than as he has received of her high- 
nesses hands. > Since she takes in good part his simple ad- 
vice and counsel, he ventures to continue therein. As he 
sees that all the travail and labour she has manifested have 
hitherto come to naught, he makes bold to put his poor 
and simple advice in a practical shape, " that your high- 
ness wald with convenient diligence assemble the hail 
nobility and Estates of your majest/s realm ; and they, 
by your advice, to take such order for the perfect trial of 
the matter," as he doubts not through God's grace shall so 
work on the hearts of her majesty and her faithful subjects 
as that the bloody and cruel actors of the deed shall be 
manifestly known. A sprinkling of piety there is towards 
the conclusion ; but the last words have a touching sim- 
plicity, in desiring that she will bear with him should he 
seem troublesome, " being the father to him that is gone." 
This appeal received prompt attention. It was written 
at Houston, in Renfrewshire, on the 20th of February, 
and the queen's answer left Seton next day. It was 
written in excellent taste, with such courtesy as a yoimg 
sovereign might show to a venerable subject parentally 
related to her. The kindness and goodwill for which 
Lennox was so grateful were but her duty, and came of 
that natural affection, of which he might feel as assured 
himself at that time, and so long as God gave her life, as 
ever he had been since the beginning of their acquaint- 
ance. Then to business. For the assembly of the no- 
bility and the other Estates of Parliament, which he re- 
commended " for a perfect trial of the king our husband's 
cruel slaughter," she so entirely concurred in that plan, 
that before receiving his letter she had ordered a Parlia- 
ment to be proclaimed, "where first of all this matter, 
being maist dear to us, sail be handlit, and nathing left 
undone whilk may further the clear trial of the same." 
This state paper does credit to the diplomatic skill of its 


author. Lennox was at once taken up as desiring a 
formal meeting of Parliament As of course something 
must be done, no step could be more desirable than that, 
siQce it was a matter of parade and delay, which would 
give a long breathing-time. The Estates, in fact, did not 
assemble until the r4th of April. What Lennox wanted 
was a general assembling of the chief subjects of the crown, 
that counsel might be taken among them, the hands of 
justice strengthened, and assurance given to those who 
were afraid to reveal what they knew. 

The next letter from the old man slips into the tone of 
one who is angry at being made a mockery of. After 
short words of courtesy, he explains the misapprehension 
of his meaning. With a touch of sarcasm, he expresses 
his assurance that, although her highness is pleased to 
await the assembling of Parliament, she will feel the time 
as long as he does, until the matter be tried and the doers 
of the deed condignly punished. The matter is not for 
Parliament, but the criminal administration of justice ; 
and "of sic wecht and importance, whilk ought rather to be 
with all expedition and diligence sought out and punished, 
to the example of the hail world." He reminds her that 
certain persons have been denounced on the Tolbooth 
door as the murderers, and comes to this practical con- 
clusion: "I shall therefore most humbly beseek your 
majesty, for the love of God, the honours of your majesty 
and your realm, and well and quietness of the same, that 
it will please your majesty forthwith, not only to appre- 
hend and put in sure keeping the persons named in the 
said tickets, but also with diligence to assemble your 
majesty's nobility, and then by open proclamation to 
admonish and require the writers of the said tickets to 
compear." If, assured of full protection, they failed to 
come forth and back their secret denunciations, then 
these would go for naught 

In the queen's next letter, dated the ist of March, 
there is some fencing about the cross purposes concerning 
the Parliament She did not mean that the affair was for 
the Parliament, or that it should lie over until the Estates 
met; "but rather wad wish to God that it might be 


suddenly and without delay tried, for ay the soonei the 
better/' Then coming to the point: "And where ye 
desire that we should cause the names containit in some 
tickets affixt on the Tolbooth door of Edinburgh to be 
apprehended and put in sure keeping — there is sa mony 
of the said tickets, and therewithal sa different and con- 
trarious to [each] other in compting of the names, that we 
wit not upon what ticket to proceed." Perhaps this was 
the best subterfuge that could be found, but it was lamen- 
tably inferior to the subtle device in the previous letter. 
If Mary expected it to go for anything but an effort to 
gain time, this would strengthen the other evidence that 
the terrible strain on her nervous system was telling on 
her intellect She ended by sa3dng that, if he would in- 
timate to her the names of any of th6 persons denounced 
whom he thought deserving of being brought to trial, she 
would direct them to be brought to trial according to 
law ; " and being found culpable, sail see the punishment 
as rigorously execute as the weight of the crime deserves.'' 
On this hint Lennox spoke, and that plainly : " And for 
the names of the persons foresaid, I marvel that the same 
has been keeped frae your majesty's ears, considering the 
effect [purport] of the said tickets, and the names of the 
persons is so openly talkt of — ^that is to say, in the first 
ticket the Erie Bothwell, Master James Balfour, Mr David 
Chambers, and black John Spence; and in the second 
ticket, Seigneur Francis, Bastian, John de Bordeaux, and 
Joseph, Davie's brother, whilk persons, I assure your 
majesty, I for my part greatly suspect And now your 
majesty knawing their names, and being the party — as 
well and mair nor I, although I was the father — I doubt 
not but your majesty will take order in the matter accord- 
ing to the weight of the cause, which I maist entirely and 
humbly beseek." 

This bears date the 17th of March. On the 24th the 
queen intimated to him an entire compliance with his 
demands. Next week the nobles were to convene, and 
the persons denounced by the earl to be put to trial, and 
punished if guilty ; and then comes an injunction such as 
would make one in Lennox's position ponder : " We pray 


you, if your leisure and commodity may suit, address you 
to be at us here in Edinburgh this week approachand, 
where ye may see the said trial, and declare thay things 
which ye knaw may further the same ; and there ye sail 
have experience of our earnest will and efFectuous mind 
to have an end in this matter, and the auctors of so un- 
worthy a deed really punished." ^ 

Here there is a formidable change of tone, which was 
not without its sufficient cause. In the oscillations of 
immediate events the tables had been turned. The man 
sought as a criminal was himself the pursuer, and the 
accusers had to look to themselves. 

It was consistent neither with the nature nor the de- 
signs of the man against whom so many accusations were 
levelled to act the part of the hunted hare. On the con- 
trary, he took his stand as the great statesman — the 
actual governor of the realm, insulted by base and skulk- 
ing calumniators, who dared not confront him. He swore 
vengeance against the authors of "the tickets;" and inquiry 
was made, or professed to be so, for their exposure and 
punishment. Picturesque descriptions were furnished to 
the English Court how, in his rage and defiance, he rode 
through the town of Edinburgh with fifty of his armed 
ruffians, and there before the multitude told how he would 
serve the authors of the tickets if he could find them.* 
As a small incident, showing the contempt with which 
such accusations were received, a pension was bestowed 
on the Signor Francis so often referred to, the grant being 
dated at Seton on the 20th of February.® For nearly a 
month there was inaction in Court while the story of ac- 
cusation raged outside ; and men passed from Bothwell, 
as the principal criminal, to seize on the name of one 
still higher. It is remarked that the Privy Council, the 
natural immediate resort on a political emergency, did 

^ The text of these letters is completed by comparing Anderson^s 
Collection and Keith's History with Labano^, who gives the most re- 
tiable rendering of the queen's part of the correspondence. ' 

 Letters citwi in T3rtler, vii. 74. 

* Privy Seal Record, quoted, lAing, i. 5a 


not assemble between the 12th of February, when the re- 
ward for the detection of the murderers was issued, and 
the I St of March, when it met to transact mere routine 
business.^ Another equally barren meeting was held on 
the nth, where it is noticed that Murray was present* 
He had the day before obtained leave to retire to France, 
and departed a few days later, not much to the regret, it 
may be believed, either of his sister or the man in whose 
hands he left her. 

As to him, the career of Court prosperity, in which he 
had been advancing, now took a rapid run — it could not 
but compromise the giver as well as the receiver of the 
rewards ; and that he should have pursued his fortune so 
eagerly at such a juncture, may be attributed either to the 
recklessness of his ambition and greed, or to the necessity 
of fortifying himself from the coming attack, as the gover- 
nor of a threatened garrison seizes the latest opportunity 
afforded to him to run up fresh defences. 

Meanwhile those who were near enough to the Court 
to see what went on there, found themselves driven to a 
new and astounding conclusion. They saw such distinct 
evidence of the queen's infatuated love for Bothwell that 
they believed she would marry him, and that the merely 
superficial impediment of his having a wife alive would be 
got over. There is little satisfaction in the accounts which 
diose professing after the event to recall what they ex- 
pected to happen say about their suppositions. We all 
like to be considered sagacious and prophetic ; and the 
most candid will give a touch of strength to their antici- 
pations when recording them after the event. We have, 
however, to the present point a narrative of incidents, 
small in themselves, but sufficient to show that there was 
a practical belief, even while they were enjo)ang holiday 
life at Seton, that these two would be united in wedlock. 
These incidents are given us in the Memoirs of Sir James 
Melville, where they follow on a remark that the " bruit " 
began to arise that the queen would marry the Earl of 
Bothwell, "who had six months before married the F^ 

^ Privy Seal Record, quoted, Laing, L 5a ' Laing, i. 55. 


of 1101111/8 sister, and would part with his own wife;" 
" whereat," he continues, " every good subject that loved 
the -queen's honour and the prince's security had sad 
hearts, and thought her majesty would be dishonoured, 
and the prince in danger to be cut off by him who had 
slain his father." He then tells how the Lord Henries, 
coming to Court, attended by fifty followers, on a special 
errand for the purpose, told her in the plainest terms the 
tenor of the rumours, " requesting her majesty most 
humbly upon his knees to remember her honour and 
dignity, and upon the security of the prince, whilk would 
all be in danger of tinsell in case she married the said 
earl, with many other great persuasions to eschew such 
utter wrack and inconvenients as that would bring on." 
Her majesty, it seems, marvelled at such bruits without 
purpose, "and said that there was na sic thing in her 
mind." Herries, having done what he deemed his duty, 
fled quickly with his followers to his own country, to evade 
the wrath of BothwelL^ 

A story like this is always liable to be inaccurate ; but 
in what follows Melville was himself a party, and must be 
correct, unless we charge him with wilful fabrication. He 
says he had made up his mind to speak to her majesty in 
the same terms as Herries. One Thomas Bishop, how- 
ever, whom he describes as a Scotsman long resident in 
England, and a warm advocate of Mary's title to the 
English throne, anticipated his intention by writing a letter, 
which he desired Melville to show the queen. It took 
up the same tone as the warning by Herries, " but more 
freely, because he was absent in another country." Tell- 
ing how the rumour of the coming event had penetrated 
to England, he assured her that if it came to pass she 
would lose her own reputation, the favour of God, and 
the kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland — " with 
many other dissuasions and examples of histories, whilks 
wald be ower lang to rehearse." He says that he showed 
the letter to the queen, as he was desired ; and when she 

^ There seems to be no reference to this in the 'Memoirs * attributed 
to Herries. 


had read it, she called out to Secretary Lethington that 
she had been shown a strange writing, " willing him also 
to see it" He asked what it was, and she said, " A de- 
vice of his own, tending to the wreck of the Earl Both- 
well." Melville continues, " He took me by the hand and 
drew me apart ; and when he had read it, he asked what 
was in my mind, and said, * So soon as the E^rl Bothwell 
gets word, as I fear he shall, he will not fail to slay you.' " 
Melville muttered something about its being a sore thing 
to see that good princess running to utter wreck, and 
nobody to warn her ; but Lethington, telling him he had 
done " more honestly than wisely," became more specific 
in his warning, and recommended Melville to be oflf be- 
fore Bothwell should come up from his dinner. He took 
the advice, and says he was hotly pursued. He says the 
queen interceded for him once and again. On Bothwell's 
rejecting her first intercession, she " was miscontent, and 
told him that he would cause her to be left of all her ser- 
vants." He then promised to spare Melville — ^so much 
influence had the siren still on the savage humour of her 
lord. Melville says that, when he afterwards saw the 
queen, he reverted to the matter, backing Bishop's coun- 
sel with his own. The last touch is curious, and carries 
an unsatisfied impression : " She said, matters were not 
that far agaitwart, but she had na will to enter in the 
terms." ^ 

From other quarters come warnings equally significant. 
We have seen how the queen wrote to Beaton, her ambas- 
sador in France, endeavouring to stamp on the first news 
of the tragedy the impression that she had herself made 
a providential escape. He expresses in his answer his 
thankfiilness that she has been preserved to take a rigorous 
vengeance for the crime committed, and then says, " Rather 
than it be not actually tane, it appears to me better in 
this warld that ye had lost life and all." Unless this be 
an implied rebuke on her pretence, he passes entirely the 
ideal danger, but presses on her solemnly the dangers that 
were real and imminent. All Europe rings with the ter- 

* Memoirs, 175-177. 


rible story and the wretchedness of poor Scotland ; nay, 
people make free with her own name, and in short charge 
her with the deed. These are calumnies, no doubt ; but 
they bring deep sorrow on all her faithful servants, and she 
must nerve herself to such action as shall for ever confute 
them. " It is needful," he says, " that ye show now rather 
than ever before, the great magnanimity, constancy, and 
virtue that God has granted you, by whose grace I hope 
ye sail overcome this most heavy envy and displeasure of the 
committing thereof, and preserve the reputation of all god- 
liness ye have conqueshed of long, which can appear no 
way so clearly than that ye do such justice as the haill 
world may declare your innocence, and give testimony for 
ever of that treason that has committed, but fear of God or 
man, so cruel and ungodly a murther."^ 

It must ever be kept in view, as the key-note to all that 
preceded and followed, that never was wretched victim 
more distinctly and loudly warned of the gulf that was 
opening at her feet. She had still not finally committed 
herself at the date of a letter in which Kirkcaldy of Grange, 
writing to Lord Bedford, expresses his beHef that the mar- 
riage will occur. He quotes a saying reported of the 
queen. Whether he gives it accurately or not, it imparts 
his belief in her infatuated devotion to the lord of her 
heart. It bore that " she cared not to lose France, Eng- 
land, and her own country for him; and shall go with him 
to the world's end in a white petticoat before she leave 

The tone of the history of Scotland now takes a pecu- 
liar turn. Events on the surface contradict the tenor of 
the influences below ; and the plot hurries on, like that of 
a romance or a drama, to be reversed when the unseen 
powers find their opportunity and reveal themselves. The 
death of Damley was not an event to be regretted or 
very zealously avenged ; but a new light sprang up in men's 
minds when they saw the mighty reward at which the chief 
actor aimed. Then, indeed, it was time for them to act 
too. In the mean time, however, their enemy was too 

1 Keith, 8vo ed., i. oiv. • Quoted by P. F. Tyder, vii. Sa 


Strong ; and tlie policy adopted was to let the evil destinies 
that ruled the land have their swing. Lethington, Morton, 
Lindsay, Murray, all the subtlest and boldest spirits of the 
day, were alike silenced for a time. The political con- 
ditions of the situation were unprecedented in Scotland. 
On some occasions the crown had been strong enough to 
bear hard on the great local potentates. In others, some 
potent feudal house had been able to defy the crown for a 
time. But here was a new combination, showing what 
might come of a connivance of the crown with the able, 
audacious, and unscrupulous head of such a feudal house. 
The result for a time was the existence, at least in the 
south of Scotland, of a despotism which it was hopeless to 
resist until the time for reaction came. 

The first performance on the stage thus cleared for the 
movements of the great actors was the trial which was to 
cleanse the hero of the piece from all taint, and especially 
to put matters finally right at the foreign Courts, where 
an inconvenient amount of interest was shown about the 
recent transactions in Edinburgh. 

The proceedings taken were exceptional and anomalous. 
The established practice was, when a criminal prosecution 
was determined on, for the crown to take the office of 
accuser, treating any persons who had been the first ac- 
cusers or informers merely as witnesses. In the docu- 
ments connected with BothwelFs trial Lord Lennox is 
brought up as the accuser, and the tenor of the procedure 
looks like an arbitration in a dispute in which he and Both- 
well hold opposite sides. On the 28th of March the Privy 
Council gave instructions for the trial. There were nine 
councillors present : Bothwell himself; the Lords Huntly, 
Argyle, and Caithness ; Leslie, Bishop of Ross ; Gordon, 
Bishop of Galloway; Secretaiy Maitland; Stewart, the 
Treasurer; and Justice-Clerk Bellenden. The Act of 
Council appointed the 12th of April for the trial, and 
directed that Matthew, Earl of Lennox, be warned person- 
ally, or at his dwelling-place, as well as all others who 
came forward as accusers. Royal letters were issued for 
the citation of Lennox ; and in these, instead of the crown, 
according to usual form, setting forth the accusation, in 

THE TRIAL, 1567. 209 

name of the crown counsel it was stated that these gentle- 
men " are informed that our well-beloved cousin and coun- 
sellor, Matthew Earl of Lennox, father of our most dear 
spouse, has asserted that James Earl of Bothwell, Lord 
Hailes and Crichton, &c., and some others, were the con- 
trivers of the traitorous, cruel, and detestable murther," 
&c. As another reason for the proceedings, which kept 
up their tone as a settlement of a dispute rather than 
a trial of a murderer, is " the humble request and petition 
of the said Earl Bothwell made to us, and in our pres- 
ence, offering to submit himself to a fair trial of what 
he is charged with." The messengers intrusted with the 
citation of Lennox made formal returns, importing that 
they did not get access to him personally, but took the 
usual means for making their citations public and notO' 

Lennox did not appear. Sir James Melville says he 
was ordered by the queen to bring none with him but his 
own household. He had a body of men-at-arms — three 
thousand, it was said — prepared to follow him. And there 
is no doubt that the policy which allowed the accused to 
be undisputed master of the capital, obviated what would 
probably have been the most bloody of all the street-con- 
flicts that had disturbed Edinburgh. 

There exists a final letter from Lennox to the queen. 
As it bears date on the previous day, it may be questioned 
whether it was delivered before the trial. It pleads sick- 
ness as his reason for not appearing, but shows that he did 
not think himself safe in Edinburgh. He begs that the 
trial may be postponed until he can prepare his evidence, 
and convene his friends for his protection. He demands 
that, like other persons accused of crimes, those charged 
on this occasion shall be taken into custody ; and throws 
out a taunt that, instead of being treated as suspected 
criminals, they are not only at liberty, but great at Court, 
where they enjoy her majest3r's special countenance and 

On the day of the trial a messenger arrived with a let 

^ Anderson's Collections, i. 50 ; ii. 97-108. ' Ibid., i 52. 



ter from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Mary, but in the con- 
fusion and excitement of the event of the day it is not 
known whether she received it 

From the same authority which mentions the arrival 
of this letter it has been inferred that the queen openly 
showed before the citizens her sympathy with the ac- 
cused, as an affectionate wife might telegraph her good 
wishes to a husband going forth to a contest or other 
critical ordeal.^ But these specialties are of small 
moment beside the larger facts, among which the most 
significant is that Bothwell had four thousand armed men 
on the streets — ^an overwhelming force in itself — ^in ad- 
dition to his command of the Castle of Edinburgh. 

The proceedings of the day were pedanticaUy formal. 
The Earl of Argyle presided as Justiciar. Fifteen jury- 
men were impannelled, according to the practice of Scot- 
land, and the Earl of Caithness was chosen their chan- 
cellor or foreman. John Spence, the queen's advocate, 
and Robert Crichton, appeared for the prosecution. 
Still, however, the distinction was kept up, that it was 
not a case taken up by the crown, but a contest with Len- 
nox, who was called upon to appear as a party. There came 
forward a gentleman of his household, Robert Cunningham, 
who explained that the earl could not appear in safety, 
and protested against the proceedings, should they end 
in the acquittal of those notoriously known to have been 
the murderers of the king. To meet this, the earl's letters 
demanding a speedy trial, were read and recorded, and 
the court solemnly decided to proceed with business ; " and 
therefore the said Earl of BothweD being accused by tlie said 
dittay of the crime aforesaid, and the same being denied 
by him, and referred to the deliverance of the said assize, 
they removed furth of the said court, and altogether con- 
vened ; and after long reasoning had by them upon the 
said dittay, and points thereof, they, and ilk ane of them 
for themselves, voted, delivered, and acquitted the said 
James Earl of Bothwell of art and part of the said slaugh- 
ter of the king." 

* Documents quoted by Tytler, vii., App. ▼. 

THE TRIAL, 1567. 211 

Through the pedantic formality of the proceedings it is 
visible that the jury did not like what they were set to do. 
It was a practice of the time to put jurors on trial for 
false verdicts, or, as it was termed, " wilful error/* Lord 
Caithness and the rest of the jurors had honesty and 
courage enough to record a protest that they ought not to 
be liable to such an ordeal for acquitting the person ac- 
cused before them, because not a particle of evidence 
was given in — there was nothing whatever put before 
them but the indictment. They therefore had no alter- 
native but to acquit. The chancellor of the jury was at 
the same time so punctilious as to insist on having it 
recorded that this their verdict was not founded on a 
quibble which the indictment put at the service of the 
jury, by stating the date of the crime as the 9th of Febru- 
ary; "for that in deed the murther was committed the 
next day, being the x day, in the morning at two hours 
after midnight, whilk in law was, and ought to be, truly 
accompted the x day." 

A careful study of the proceedings — so much of them 
as we have — ^leaves the impression that judges and jury 
were anxious to put on record what would tell that, if 
there were a defeat of justice, it was not their fault 
They could not be blamed for their acquittal of the accused 
— they had ever3rthing, resting on the maxim that rigidity of 
form is the safety of the innocent, to justify them. All 
they had was an accusation put into shape. No evi- 
dence was called to justify the accusation, and so the 
jury acquitted. If tiie world knew no more than the 
record of the trial, nothing would seem more fair and 
appropriate. The affair ended in a bravado, the acquitted 
man offering, by public cartel, to fight, after the old way 
of the ordeal of battle, any one who should still charge 
him with the murder.^ 

The Estates met on the 14th of April; and were one 
to judge solely from the internal evidence of the formal 
procedure, never did Parliament assemble under con- 
ditions of more quietness and order. Yet it might be 

^ The record of the trial in State Trials, i. 902. 


fancied that, in the very cautiousness of all its transac- 
tions, there were s)rmptoms of apprehension that a stonn 
was coming. It was a Parliament of precautions and 
confirmation of acquisitions. It began by exonerating 
Erskine of the command of Edinburgh Castle, acknowledg- 
ing that he had held his trust as a good and true soldier, 
and would never be liable to question for what he had done 
in the course of his duty. There comes next an Act in 
favour of religious peace and toleration. It narrates how 
thoroughly the queen had kept her word, in her promise 
not to attempt anything contrary to the religion which she 
found " publicly and universally standing at her arrival ; '* 
for which all her subjects who have so enjoyed the rights 
of conscience in peace shall have occasion to praise God 
for her good, happy, and gracious government, and crave 
of Him, from the bottom of their hearts, that He would, 
of His infinite goodness, prosper and bless her majesty 
and her posterity with long life, and good and happy 
government to rule and reign over them. We have not 
here the equivocation of supporting the Church by law 
established as in the Act of 1563. But through its mul- 
tifarious clauses, promising and reiterating protection to 
the persons referred to in the exercise of their religion, 
there is an exceeding care to avoid any specific definition 
of what that religion is, whether by the use of the nomen- 
clature or the characteristics of Protestantism, or by the 
points of its difference firom the Church of Rome. Such 
as it was, Bothwell had the credit of having gained this 
boon to his own ecclesiastical party. It did not propitiate 
them, however. If, as it would seem, he expected to 
secure to himself the Reformation party, he was signally 
defeated. They were becoming the champions of Puri- 
tanism as well as Protestantism, and looked askance at 
murder, though the victim was a Papist and the doer one 
of themselves. 

There were several ratifications of gifts of private 
estates. Lethington looked after Wmself on this occa- 
sion ; and David Chambers, one of the Lords of Session, 
was rewarded with domains "for the good, true, and 
obedient service done in all time past to her majesty's 


honour, well, and contentment," and that through immi- 
nent peril and danger. He was an able man, a jurist and 
historian, writing both in French and Latin ; but he was 
a creature of BothwelFs, and so vehemently suspected of 
participation in the murder, that his name appeared on the 
midnight placards. Morton and Murray were confirmed 
in their acquisitions at great length ; so was the queen's 
other illegitimate brother, Robert, the Commendator of 
Holyrood House. There were several other such ratifica- 
tions, the most significant of which was the virtual restor- 
ation to Huntly of a large portion of the old domains of 
his house. He was expected to reciprocate in services of 
a peculiar kind. Bothwell, of course, comes in for his 
share of the royal bounty. In general terms his right is 
confirmed to all and sundry " his lordships and barony of 
Hailes, Crichton, and Liddesdale ; and all others his lands, 
lordships, baronies,, castles, towers, fortalices, mills, fish- 
ings, woods, parts, pendicles, &c., together with the 
offices of admiralty of Scotland, and the offices of the 
sheriffships of Edinburgh principal, and within the con- 
stabularies of Haddington and Lauderdale." But there 
was a more special object in the ratification, narrat- 
ing her highness's regard and consideration " of the great 
and manifold good service done and performed, not only 
to her highnesses honour, well, and estimation, but also to 
the commonwealth of this realm and lieges thereof," by 
which he " superexpended himself" and burdened his 
lands. Most of his great territories he had firom his 
ancestors; but, as we have already seen, by his own 
extravagant living, succeeding that of his father, he be- 
came hard pressed for available means, and the estates 
were heavily burdened. The object of the ratification 
was to amend this defect ; and to enable him to support 
his rank as Governor of the Castle of Dunbar, certain 
lands in its neighbourhood, apparently of considerable 
agricultural value, were vested in him. His wealth and 
power were now enormous. He had the command of 
Edinburgh Castle and of the county of Edinburgh, with 
Haddington and Lauderdale. The two great feudal 
towers, still remaining, twelve miles firom Edinburgh, 


Crichton and Borthwick, were his. He had the original 
possession of his family — Hailes — ^and the friary lands of 
Haddington. This almost joined his lordship round 
Dunbar, where he commanded a strong fortress. Another, 
the Hermitage, guarded his estates in Liddesdale, which 
were almost joined to the rich possessions of Melrose 
Abbey in the vale of Tweed ; and he was Warden of all 
the three marches, and Lord High Admiral.^ 

One significant feature in the legislation of the session 
was for the suppression of the anonymous denunciations 
which had been so troublesome. Aiiy person first seeing 
or finding such a document was to destroy it, otherwise he 
would be punished as an accessory to its promulgation. 
This was no novel effort of ingenuity ; it was, in fact, the 
old Roman law oi famosi iibeili^ and the Act was little 
more than a translation of the provisions which may be 
found in the 47 th book of the Pandects. 

Parliament rose on the 19th. On the afternoon of that 
day there was a great supper of the influential members in 
a tavern owned by a man named Annesly. They had the 
distinction lo be surrounded by an armed guard of Both- 
well's followers. Suppers were at that time, like state 
dinners of the present day, a suitable occasion for politi- 
cal movements. This one began at four o'clock, and 
went, amidst much carousal, pretty deep into the night. 
Before the revellers separated a document was presented 
for their acceptance, drawn up with that special skill for 
such draftsmanship which Balfour had more than once 
exhibited. It contained, in the first place, an assertion of 

^ The editor of Queen Mary's Inventories has added a very curious 
item to valuables with which Bothwell was then endowed, in certain 
articles which, however his other acquisitions came, must have been 
the gifts of the queen's own hand. There is an entry — "ten pieces of 
caps, chasubles, and tunicles," taken from Huntly's castle, whither 
they had been sent from the Cathedral of Aberdeen for their safety. 
On these the recipient notes : "In March 1567, I delivered three of 
the fairest, whilk the queen gave to the Lord JBothwell ; and mair, 
took for herself ane cap, a chasuble, four tunicles, to make a bed for the 
long— all broken and cut in her own presence. "—P. 53. Here the ob- 
ject of the gift is not so remarkable, as that so zealous a devotee of the 
Church should have turned ecclesiastical robes into secular clothing. 


Bothweirs innocence, and a resolution to hold it against 
all impugners. There is next an obligation, in the usual 
tenor of bonds of manrent, to stand by Bothwell in all his 
quarrels. Then comes last the great stroke. In case his 
distinguished services to her majesty, "and his other good 
qualities and behaviour,'* should move her to condescend 
to receive him as her husband, all the undersigned deter- 
mine to further and promote such a marriage to the 
utmost of their capacity; and they recommend it as a 
proper step to be taken for the public good in the widowed 
condition of the queen. That there was shown to the 
assembled magnates a writing expressive of the queen's 
desire for the match is a disputed question. What is, 
however, a lamentable fact is, that the docimient was 
adopted by a meeting of the first men in the country. 
This is an affair which not only lacks sufficient explana- 
tion, but scarcely affords material for a plausible theory. 
Simple coercion will hardly account for it Among the 
men there assembled the vices were many and grave, but 
poltroonery was not conspicuous among them. It was 
noticed that next morning the bulk of Uiem rapidly dis- 
persed to their separate territories, leaving the political 
epoch to its own development.^ 

Events now followed each other rapidly, and thickened 
to a conclusion. On the 21st of Apnl the queen went to 
Stirling to visit her child ; and so dangerous a repute did 
she carry with her, that Mar the governor was fiightened 
into vague fears about his precious charge, and would 
not permit the mother to bring into his presence any 
other attendants than two of her women. ^ Bothwell pre- 

^ Anderson's Collection, i. 107- 1 11, iv. (part ii.) 60. There are 
lists of the parties to this manifesto ; but they are given from memory, 
and not to be depended on. The name of Murray, for instance, 
occurs in them, though, apart from all question of probability, he was 
absent from Scotland at the time. 

* Of the written gossip flying about among the statesmen of the 
period, the following may be taken as a specimen rather above the 
average in picturesque extravagance : *' At the queen being at Stir- 
ling, 3ie prince being brought unto her, she offered to kiss him, but 
he would not, but put her away, and did to his strength scratch her« 
She offered him an apple, but it would not be received of him, and 


pared to intercept her on her return, and whether this was 
done by her own connivance is one of the seconda.ry 
questions in the great controversy. Whether or not she was 
aware of the enterprise, it was so well known to others 
that, between her departure and return, one of the Edin- 
burgh correspondents of the English Court writes to say 
that the Earl of Bothwell has gathered a body of men 
professedly to ride to the border, but the writer believes 
that presently after he writes they will be employed to 
intercept the queen and take her to Dunbar; and he 
sarcastically asks the receiver of the letter to judge 
whether this be with her will or not.^ Sir James Mel- 
ville in his Diary drily says he was told by Captain 
Blackadder that the queen was seized by her own consent, 
but he does not give us the benefit of his own comment 
on this assertion. Hubert, the French page, says in his 
testimony or confession that, on the evening before, the 
seizure, the queen sent him from Linlithgow with letters 
to Bothwell, who bade him in answer assure her majesty 
that he would meet her on the road at the bridge. Both- 
well took with him eight hundred spearmen to the western 
entrance of Edinburgh ; he had military resources at his 
disposal which, for any such enterprise as he had on 
hand, might be called inexhaustible. The spot where he 
met the queen is now called Fountainbridge, a sort of 
mixed suburb to the west of the old town of JEdinburgh, 
having to the south the new suburbs of Greenhill and 

to a greyhound bitch having whelps was thrown, who eat it, and she 
and her whdps died presently. A sugar-loaf also for the prince was 
brought at the same time — it is judged to be very ill compounded. 
There is a witch in the north who afHrms the queen shall have yet 
two husbands. Arbroath shall be the second. The Duke [Bothwell] 
shall not live a year at the most. In the fifth husband's time she 
shall be burnt, which death divers speak of to happen to her, and it 
is said she fears the same." — Drury to Cecil, 20th May 1567 ; Calen- 
dar of State Papers (Foreign). 

1 Cited by P. F. Tytler, vii. 88; Calendar of State Papers 
(Foreign), 24th April. The unknown writer leaves the unknown 
receiver to make out his correspondent by mysteriously announcing the 
letter to be written ** by him tha*^ '* yours who took you by the hand 
at midnight. '^ 

THE CARRYING OFF, 1567. 21/ 

Merchiston, and to the north the western verge of the 
new town. The aflfair passed quietly.^ 

It is provokmg when men who have partaken in critical 
events tell of them, and yet tell so sparingly and drily 
as to leave a world of untold matter which every reader 
longs to know; but such are often the very points on 
which practical men's words are fewest, because they do 
not like to commit themselves. Sir James Melville, who 
has left so many lively sketches of more trifling matters, 
was one of the queen's escort on the occasion, and he 
tells us nothing more than that " the Earl Bothwell was 
in her gait wilii a great company, and took her majesty 
by the bridle. His men took the Earl of Huntly, the 
Secretary Lethington, and me, and carried us captives to 
Dunbar; all the rest were letten go free." Next day 
Melville himself was released; so that, if he held his 
tongue about what was afterwards done within the grim 
fortress, he disappointed no just expectations. A young 
and lovely princess taken captive and immured in the 
fortress of a profligate and unscrupulous baron, is one of 
the most approved elements of old romance, giving room 
for the imagination to revel in all horrors and tyrannies. 
On the question whether or not the queen was treated 
with violence in Dunbar Castle there is no end of specu- 
lation, but there is very little means of distinct knowledge. 
To the shifting unsatisfactory character of all foundations 
for a conclusion she herself added, by expressions which 
were intended, and with subtle skill adapted, to raise a 
doubt about her exemption from personal violence, and 
to leave that doubt unsolved. 

^ Buchanan finds a very subtle plot in the " Ravishment" It was 
desirable, all things considered, that Bothwell should be furnished 
with the technical protection of a royal pardon. It was the practice 
in such documents to set forth the principal crime conmiitted by the 
malefactor, that the boundaries of the indemnity might be fully de- 
fined, and to slump minor ofiences in a general definition. It was 
not expedient to name the murder of her husband ; but a treasonable 
attack on her own person was a very heavy crime, and by a little 
sophistry might be made out to go nirther than the other, so as to 
leave it in the group of minor offences. 


The next step was to rid Bothwell of the burden of his 
existing wife, and make him free to take another In the 
letter in which the English statesmen are told of the in- 
tended seizure, they are also told of the intention to 
separate Bothwell from his wife — so well was it known 
that this was to be, although the method might not be 
exactly anticipated. Since it had to be forced through, 
the method adopted is instructive about the state of the 
public institutions of Scotland at that time, as well as of 
the character of the persons concerned. The old power 
of the Romish hierarchy to judge in matters of marriage 
and divorce as part of the canon law was abolished by the 
Acts of 1560, which abolished the Papal supremacy. As 
there was at first no distinct substitute for the power so 
exercised, some inconvenience was felt. By a suppliant 
to the Court of Session in 1562, it was represented " that, 
because the consistorial jurisdiction is abolished, the said 
complainer could get no cursing" — that is to say, no 
civil process followed on the excommunication which the 
ecclesiastical court could launch ag?iinst the person who 
had wronged him in a matter in which the canon law, as 
administered by the old hierarchy, would have given him 
redress.^ To fill up the gap thus caused in the adminis- 
tration of civil justice, a court of four conmiissaries was 
erected by royal authority in 1563, and was recast in 
1566. In this court Both well's wife sued out a divorce 
against him on the groimd of adultery ; and it appears to 
have been very easy to find, on an analysis of her hus 
band's actions, enough to justify a decision in her favour. 
Sentence of divorce was accordingly pronounced against 
him, at the instance of his wife, on tiie 3d of May.^ 

^ Riddell's Peerage and Consistorial Law, 427. 

' The marriage with Lady Jane Gordon was on the 22d of Feb- 
ruary 1566, so uiat she was his wife iPor a year and two months. It 
is curious to trace, in the pages of the genealogists, the after-life of 
one who was in a manner dnited in among the stormiest incidents of 
her day, and then after a short interval floated off into calm waters. 
She lived to an old age, which left far behind all the political con- 
ditions of her first-married life, and passed through successive scenes 
performed by successive relays of actors. She had her vicissitudes, 
out the way in which she took them showed a quiet spirit, fitted to 

THE DIVORCES, 1567. 219 

The exceptional condition, however, in which her 
destined successor stood, made something more neces- 
sary for the satisfactory conclusion of the aflfair. The 
superseding of the bishop's court by that of the commis- 
saries was occasioned by those reforming Acts to which 
the queen had never given the royal assent, which she 
believed consequently to be invalid, and which every- 
body believed she in her secret heart intended to re- 
pudiate when the proper time came. Farther, by the 
doctrine of her own Church, and the practice of the old 
cbnsistorial tribunal in Scotland, separation of man and 
wife for adultery was not that nullifying of the marriage 
which permitted the divorced person to marry again.^ 
It was therefore desirable to get the marriage annulled 
under the old law, and by the old hands, on sucli grounds 
as would admit of Bothwell marrying again. There were 
many difficulties in the way of this, and the steps taken 
to overcome them make a rather complicated history. 

According to the view of the queen, and doubtless of 
all sincere followers of her Church, the Acts abolishing 
the power of the Romish hierarchy were a nullity ; but it 
would not do to publish such a view by acting on it, and 
that on a very critical and conspicuous occasion. By a 
warrant of the queen, acting under her notions of prero- 
gative, the consistorial authority was formally restored, 
with the Archbishop of St Andrews as its head. This 
court was constituted in the month of December 1566, 
and therefore that act in itself cannot have been done, as 
historians generally say it was, for the special purpose of 
carrying out this divorce. It was, in fact, an attempt 
following up the triumph of the Romish party — a trial 

make the best of existing conditions. The account given of her in 
Wood's Peerage, after her first marriage is disposed of in proper 
form, is, — " Secondly, 13 December 1573, to Alexander, eleventh 
Earl of Sutherland, and had issue ; thirdly, to Alexander Ogilvy of 
Boyne ; and died in 1629, atat* eighty-four. She was a lady of great 

^ The General Assembly in 1566 desired the resumption of thii 
principle — ^viz., that the culpable party in such a divorce should not 
pe free to marry. — ^Book of Uie Universal Kirk, 54. 


how far a quiet step could be safely taken for the restora- 
tion of old things. It did not pass in silence, for the 
Reformed Church uttered a loud testimony against it 
The General Assembly memorialised the Privy Council, 
ssLying that although the commission included some of 
themselves, " yet can the Kirk noways be content that 
the Bishop of St Andrews, ane common enemy to Christ, 
use that jurisdiction, and also in respect of that coloured 
commission he might again usurp his old usurped 
authority." They attribute it to their own negligence 
that Satan had so far prevailed within the realm of late 
days. "We therefore," they say, "in the fear of our 
God, and with grief and anguish of heart, complain unto 
your honours ; yea, we must complain unto God, and to 
all His obedient creatures, that that conjurit enemy of 
Jesus Christ and cruel murtherer of our dear bretluren, 
most falsely styled Archbishop of St Andrews, is reponed 
and restored by signature to his former tyranny." They 
strongly suspect that the end of such things will be " to 
cure the head of that venomous beast whilk once within 
this realm, by the potent hand of God, was so banished 
and broken down that by tyranny it could not hurt the 
faithful." And then follow some protestations, instructive 
in communicating to us the constitutional notions prev- 
alent at the time. " The danger may be feared, say ye ; 
but what remedy? It is easy, and at hand. Right 
Honourable, if ye will not betray the cause of God and 
leave your brethren, whilk never will be more subject to 
that usurped tyranny than they will unto the devil him- 
self. Our queen belike is not well informed. She ought 
not, nor justly may not, break the laws of this realm ; and 
so, consequently, she may not raise up against us, with- 
out our consent, that Roman Antichrist again, for in ane 
lawful and free Parliament as ever was in the realm before 
was that odious beast deprived of all jurisdiction, office, 
and authority within this realm." ^ 

The new tribunal thus protested against did not super- 
sede the Protestant court, and does not seem to have 

^ Book of the Uniyersal Kirk 

THE DIVORCES, 1567. 221 

transacted judicial business.^ Its history stands by itsell 
entirely clear of the great personal question of the day. In 
fact, before the severance of Bothwell frotn his wife could 
be accomplished, Mary had to come personally forward 
and issue a special authority for that end. 

On the 27th of April a special commission was issued 
authorising the archbishop and certain other clergy to give 
judgment in an action of divorce by the Earl Bothwell 
against the Lady Jane Gordon, on the canonical ground 
of relationship within the fourth degree of consanguinity, 
and the celebration of marriage without the necessary dis- 
pensation.2 So rapidly did this tribunal get through its 
one piece of work, that the proceedings, begun on the 5th 
of May, were finished by judgment of divorce on the 7th. 
The peerages and genealogies will be searched in vain for 
tlie evidence of propinquity. But this is immaterial. Else- 
where it has been found necessary at some length to ex- 
plain the doctrine and practice by which the old Church 
carried the rules of prohibition and the occasion for eccle- 
siastical dispensation far beyond the scope of the legal and 
decorous alliances on which pedigrees are raised. The 
matter revealed in such inquiries is not so attractive as to 
call for repetition.^ Let it suffice, therefore, that to ap- 

^ The "signature" or commission under the sign-manual restoring 
the consistorial jurisdiction of the archbishop is in the Register of the 
Privy Seal (voL xxxv. 99). It is in absolute terms, superseding the 
authority of the Commissaries and the Court of Session, and provid- 
ing compensation for the judges of that court, whose salaries partly 
consisted of commissariat fees. It bears date 23d December 1566. 
The remonstrance of the Assembly bears date 27th December. It is 
addressed to the Privy Council, requesting them to "stay" the com- 
mission. The record of the Great Seal, which, however, is imperfect, 
does not contain the completed commission, nor is there any evidence 
of its having been accepted by the Privy Council. From this, and 
the circumstances mentioned in the text — viz., the proceedings before 
the Commissaries and the separate commission to the archbishop to 
adjudicate in the special case — it may be questioned whether the res- 
toration of the archbishop's jurisdiction passed through all the proper 
forms, or was, on the other hand, "stayed." 

• Riddell's Peerage and Consistorial Law, 433. 

' See chapter xxxvii. The adaptation of the law to this important 
occasion is very explicitly set forth by Riddell.— Inquiry into the Law 
and Practice in Scottish Peerages, 432 et seq. 


peaxance in this, as in the other process, Bothwell was 
favoured by his extensive participation in the prevalent 
vices of the day. His wife could not only divorce him for 
his conduct since their marriage, but there had been con- 
duct before the marriage sufficient to render it null unless 
it were specially protected. 

There might be a latent difficulty, however. It was the 
policy of the Church, in stretching her authority over the 
social as well as the religious condition of the people, to 
find a method of counteracting every power she exercised. 
If she helped those who were eager to break the marriage- 
tie, she could protect those who desired to make it indis- 
soluble. Hence it was customary for the prudent rela- 
tions of a bride to obtain a Dispensation from the nullifying 
influence not merely of actual propinquity, if such there 
were, but of anything that might be founded on the vicious 
life led by the other party. We find Buchanan asserting 
that such a Dispensation had been obtained on the mar- 
riage of Bothwell with Lady Jane Gordon, and that it was 
abstracted or concealed : as the charge stands in the ver- 
nacular version, " All this while they kept dose the Pope's 
bull, by whilk the same offence was dispensed with." ^ 

1 Buchanan's statement is: ''Apud judices Papisticos, ordinum 
quidem decreto vetitos, tamen ab Archiepiscopo Sancti Andrse ad 
hanc caussam cognoscendum datos, accusatur, quod ante matrimo- 
nium cum propinqua uxoris stupri consuetudinem habuisset: celato 
interim Pontificis Romani diplomate, quo veniaejus culpae facta erat." 
— Detectio, Jebb, t 248. A portion of the proceedings in both suits 
is given by Principal Robertson in his Appendix, No. 20. In the 
process before the Commissaries, a certain Bessie Crawford has a 
story to tell, which removes all difficulties. As appropriate to the 
whole occurrence, the French ambassador commented on the peculiar 
facilities for divorce in Scotland : *' Ilz ont une coustume estrange en 
Angleterre, mais plus prattiqu^e en Escosse, de pouvair se r^udier 
I'un Taultre quant ilz ne se trouvent bien ensamble;" and then he 
cites instances. — Teulet, ii. 157. But that the French too were famil- 
iar with such things, is shown by an apt case in point When, on 
Queen Mary's first widowhood, the Duke of Aumale was making love 
to her, the gossips of the Louvre had it that she would marry him M 
he were free — ** qu'elle declara, qu'elle Tepouseroit, si par la mort de 
sa femme, Antomette de la Marck fiUe du Due de BouiUon, ou autre- 
ment, il rentroit en liberty de se r^marier." — Mem. de Castelnan, L 
S28. The gossips were at fault, for, as we have seen, the younif 

THE DIVORCES, 1567. 223 

In the process for the dissolution of the marriage it is 
expressly set forth that no dispensation had been obtained, 
and the statement to the contrary was generally set down 
as one of Buchanan's calumnies. Later inquiries, how- 
ever, show that such a dispensation existed, that it was 
granted by Archbishop Hamilton in virtue of his legatine 
powers, and that, although he did not bring it up to inter- 
rupt the divorce, it was preserved, whether through his con- 
nivance or not This dispensation has recently been 
discovered. By her for whom it wa§ obtained as a pro- 
tection from possible calamities, it had been retained at 
the time when events so strange and unexpected rendered 
it desirable to others that it never had existed The re- 
pudiated wife of Bothwell had quietly taken the document 
with her to the scene of her changed fortunes, and after 
slumbering for three hundred years, the dispensation was 
found among other genealogical documents preserved in 
the muniments of the house of Sutherland.^ It is certain, 
then, whatever we may infer from that certainty, that the 
conditions necessary by the rules of her own religion to 
render Queen Mary the lawful wife of Bothwell had not 
been fulfilled. 

The afifair of the divorces was adjusted, though not con- 

widow had other designs ; but it is dear that the duke's having a 
wife was considered only a temporary impediment to such a marriage 
if the two desired it. 

^ "Letters of Dispensation by John, Archbishop of St Andrews, 
Papal Legate in Scotland, in favour of James, Earl of Bothwell, and 
Lady Jean Gordon, sister-german of George, Earl of Huntly, being 
within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, dated 13th March 
1565.'' (Second report Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 
p. 177. ) No one can anticipate, in anything relating to Queen Mary, 
how wide may be the discussions to be opened by this discovery. 
The discoverer, Dr John Stuart, says: "The document now dis- 
covered proves that a dispensation was regularly procured before mar- 
riage ; and as we find that Lady Jean Gordon did not found on it in 
the consistorial proceedings before the archbishop (which ended in 
the divorce), and it would seem to have been in her custody through- 
out, and to have been carried by her to Dunrobin when she was mar- 
ried to the Earl of Sutherland in 1573, the inference is, that hei 
consent had been gained to the divorce either at the instance of the 
queen or of her own husband." — Ibid. 


eluded, while the queen was still in Dunbar Castle. On 
the day when the Protestant divorce was issued, the two 
entered Edinburgh with a large body of followers, who on 
the journey threw away their arms, to give the assemblage 
the appearance of a peaceful pageant. On the 12 th 
occurred one of those curious pieces of pedantic formality 
which accompany the several steps of this wild story. It 
was said that the supreme courts of law had doubts 
whether their proceedings were valid while the queen, in 
whose name they acted, was a captive. Whether or not 
they really experienced such doubts, the opportunity was 
taken for a splemn proclamation of their groundlessness. 
It is on record in the proceedings of the Court of Session, 
which mentions the presence of the prelates, the high 
officers of state, and the Provost of Edinburgh. The 
" declaration of the queen's liberty " followed that equi- 
vocal tone in which she all along spoke of the affair : 
'* Albeit her highness was conmiovit for the present time 
of her taking at the said Earl Bothwell, yet since syne, 
by his guid behaving towards her highness, and haifing 
sure knowledge of his thankful service done by him in 
tyme bygone, and for mair thankful service in tyme coming, 
that her highness stands content with the said earl, and 
has forgiven and forgives him and all others his complices." 
Hence she intimated that she was minded to promote him 
to further honour for his services foresaid.^ The first 
instalment of the further honour made its appearance on 
the same day, when he was created Duke of Orkney and 

And now the wedding was to come on. Some of the 
preliminaries had already been adjusted. To those who 
knew the character of the queen, the tendency of these 
must have been the most astounding evidence yet furnished 
of the absoluteness of the mastership that had been estab- 
lished over both her heart and her intellect. No man's 
life could more thoroughly deride the Puritanic religion 
professed by him than Bothwell's ; yet he, an adventurer 
eagerly grasping at the advancement in his reach, would 

* Acts of Sederunt. 

THE WEDDING, 1567. 225 

take it in no other than the Protestant form — while she, 
the bigoted devotee of th6 old Church, who was sacrificing 
everything else, sacrificed this too, and accepted the new 
form. The ecclesiastical functions proper to the occasion 
would have rested with Knox. He, however, was absent, 
a thing to be regretted by all who would desire to add an 
additional touch of picturesqueness to the scene. His 
assistant John Craig, however, represented him pretty 
faithfiiUy. Craig proclaimed the banns from his pulpit, 
and when afterwards called in question for doing so by 
the General Assembly, he gave this account of the trans- 
action. He had refiised to make the proclamation, when 
a messenger came firom the queen to desire it Being 
afterwards shown a command under her hand, he con- 
sulted his session or congregational court Their discus- 
sion seems to have been strong ; but the conclusion come 
to was, that the intention of the sovereign might be 
announced, leaving the final responsibility on those who 
should carry out such intentions ; and Craig, in giving 
efifect to this view, argued ingeniously enough that, if the 
act to be carried out was so outrageous and abominable 
as it was pronounced to be, it was doing good service to 
give the world previous warning of the intention to perpe- 
trate it ; and it was not his proclaiming, but the sUence of 
others, that permitted the event to come to pass. The 
session came at the same time to a resolution that they 
could neither assist in nor approve of such a marriage, as 
it was contrary to a resolution of the General Assembly to 
unite again in wedlock a person divorced for misconduct 
He made it, he says, a condition of the proclamation, that 
he should declare his mind to Bothwell himself in the 
presence of the Privy Council. It seems to have been 
thought prudent to submit to this ; and Bothwell had to 
listen to a castigation, for his conjugal misconduct and 
other irregularities ; " the suspicion of collusion betwixt 
him and his wife ; Uie sudden divorcement and proclaim- 
ing within the space of four days ; and last, the suspicion 
of the king's death, whilk his marriage wad confirm.'' 
The object of this tirade naturally enough, as its author 
says, ''answerit nathing to my satisfaction." Craig 
voi^ IV f 


threatened to carrjr his views before a more congenial 
audience; and he kept his threat next Sunday, when 
from the pulpit, as he says, " I took heaven and earth 
to witness that I abhorred and detested that marriage, 
because it was odious and scandalous to the world ; and 
seeing the best part of the realm did approve it either by 
flattery or by their silence, I desired the faithful to pray 
earnestly that God would turn it to the comfort of this 
realm that thing whilk they intended against reason and 
good conscience/* On this he was called before the 
Council for having passed the bounds of his commission, 
and there, still following his own narmtive, ** I answered, 
the bounds of my commission whilk were the Word of 
Gk)d, good laws, and natural reason, were able to approve 
whatsoever 1 spake ; yea, that their own conscience could 
not but bear witness that sic a marriage wad be odious 
and slanderous to all that should hear of it, if ail the 
circumstances thereof were tightly considered.*' ^ 

On the 14th, the day before the marriage, two docu- 
ments were executed. One of them was a short assurance 
by the queen, that the persons who had signed the bond 
urging Bothwell on her as a husband should never be 
called in question for doing so. It is doubted whether 
the bond referred to is that signed at the celebrated supper, 
or one of later date. The other paper is a contract of 
marriage. It is cleverly and plausibly drawn, probably by 
that accompHshed draftsman Balfour, and manages with 
much skill to neutralise the inequality of the match be- 
tween liie widow and " the right noble and potent prince, 
James, Duke of Orkney, Earl Bothwell, Lord Hailes, 
Crichton, and Liddesdale, Great Admiral of this realm of 
Scotland" With equal skill it throws the responsibility 
of this step on the distinguished persons who recommended 
it, and represents her majesty as yielding, after full con- 
sideration, to their urgent prayers, because sh^ considered 
their choice so thoroughly appropriate. There was no 
discussion, as on the two previous occasions, about the 
crown-matrimonial ; but she virtually did her t>est to raise 

^ See the proceedings in Anderson, ii. 27S. 

THE WEDDING, 1567. 227 

him to a joint occupancy of the throne, by stipulating that 
the signature of both should be necessary to all state docu* 
ments passing under the sign-manual.^ 

A fit person for the performance of the ceremony was 
found in Adam Bothwell, who had been Roman Catholic 
Bishop of Orkney^ and was a convert or an apostate, ac- 
cording to the estimate people took of his sincerity. The 
ceremony was performed on the 15th of May. Sir James 
Melville says he went little about Court at that time ; but 
it seems he could not resist the temptation to be present 
at so remarkable a wedding, though he entertained con- 
siderable fear of Bothwell, which would hardly be modi- 
fied by his consciousness that he was then negotiating for 
his enemy's destruction. BothwelFs savage nature, how^ 
ever, seems to have been soothed by prosperity. He had 
some familiar talk and banter, trying to act the condescend- 
ing prince to one whose sphere he had now left far below 
him. There was but little said, and that not very brilliant ; 
but it is valuable, as the sole instance in which one finds 
that mysterious demon of our history unbending into any- 
thing like geniality : " I found my Lord Due of Orfcn^ 
sitting at his supper. He said I had been a great stranger, 
desiring me to sit down and sup with him. I said that I 
had already supped. Then he called for a cup of wine and 
drank to me, that I might pledge him like a Dutchman. 
He bade me drink it out to grow fatter; * for, 'said he, 
' the zeal of the commonweal has eaten you up and made 
you sa lean.* I answered that every little member should 
serve to some use ; but that the care of the commonweal 
appertanet maist tU him and the rest of the nobiHty, who 
should be as fathers to the same. Then he said, I wist 
well he would find a pin for every bore." This was in 
reference to an old allegory about nature having made so 
many circular holes and so many angular, with a seft e^ 
pins made to fit each, but mismanagement so confused 
the whole that the angular pins were forced mto the circu- 
lar holes and the circular into the angular. Bothwell, in 

1 The two documents here referred to have often been printed, and 
tre in Labanoff, ii. 22, 23. 


administering the high functions likely to devolve on him, 
was not to make this mistake — a conceited announcement 
arrogating capacities for statesmanship which his career 
by no means warrants. The conclusion of the short scene 
is characteristic : " Then he fell in purpose of gentlewomen, 
speaking sic filthy language that I left him and passed up 
to the queen, wha was very glad of my coming.*' ^ If in 
this sort of eloquence he could shock one who had seen 
in that age so much of the world, and that not always the 
best of it, he must have been a master indeed in the inven- 
tion and expression of lubricity. 

Although one chronicler mentions that the ceremony 
was performed in the Chapel Royal, the probability lies 
with the other authorities who name the Council Chamber 
as the place. Le Croc, the French ambassador, said he 
was urged to attend, but declined. The attendance was 
meagre, the ceremonial strictly in the Protestant form; It 
was noted at the time, as one type of the reckless haste 
with which the affair was driven through, that it was not 
delayed to the expiry of the month of May, held by an old 
traditionary prejudice to be unpropitious to the nuptials it 
claims as celebrated within its own limits. The prejudice 
still has a lingering existence. As placarding had become 
the received method of expressing public opinion, a line 
from Ovid*s Fasti, importing that they turned out to be 
wicked women who accepted wedlock in that forbidden 
month, was afiixed to the palace door on the night after 
the wedding.^ 

The beginning of their wedded life resembled that of 
any innocent young couple affluent in the sources of mag- 
nificence and luxury. They were a good deal seen in 
public, and frequently rode together in much bravery. 
Stories were told how, when he, still preserving the eti- 
quette of sovereign and subject, would attend her cap in 

1 MelviUe, 178. 

> " Nee vidiise tsedis eadem, nee virginis apta 
Tempora ; quae nupsit non diutuma fuit 
Hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt 
Menae malas Maio nobere vulgns aiL" 

—Fasti, Hb. % 

The last was the line selected. 


hand, she would pla3rftilly snatch it and place it on his 
head. It may, indeed, be counted one of the most remark- 
able phenomena of the whole situation, that one of the 
subtlest and acutest women ever bom should, in her fool's 
paradise, have been totally unconscious of the volcano she 
was treading on. 

Some business had to be done, however ; and, among 
other things, came up the proper diplomatic communica- 
tion of the event to foreign Courts. A long document of 
extreme interest contains her instructions to William Chis- 
holm. Bishop of Dunblane, sent as a special envoy to 
France to convey the intelligence and make suitable 
explanations. This document is curiously wavering and 
inconsistent. It begins with a eulogistic biography of 
her husband — what the French would call an kloge. His 
great services and merits are set forth at length; and 
since it has to be admitted that he was sometimes under 
the cloud of the royal displeasure, this is attributed to 
the envyings that ever dog high merit, and are successful 
for a time in obscuring it. In this portion of the docu- 
ment it is made clear that Bothwell amply deserved his 

Having shown that what she had done was exactly what 
in justice and duty she should have done, she next tells 
how the surrounding conditions coerced her, so that, as a 
political necessity, she could not do otherwise. She found 
that his eminent services to the state and to her own per- 
son had not been achieved without exciting ambitious 
thoughts. She saw the somewhat audacious tenor of these, 
and tried to administer a judicious check to them. She 
failed. There was another element besides ambition which 
made him rash and headstrong in his acts — z. devouring 
love for her These combined motives conduced to rash 
acts, which brought her into his power. Then, when she 
considered her position, it was not merely that she was at 
the mercy of a man exulting in the consciousness of un- 
paralleled heroism and statesmanship, and frantically in 
love with herself, but the whole nation was with him. She 
referred to the bond signed at the notable supper as a 
great demonstration of the chiefs of the state, sudi as a 


sovereign cannot without danger resist The current in 
Bothwell's favour was so strong that not one man in Scot- 
land appeared to stand up for her. Then she bethought 
her if she was right in her obstinate resistance. She began 
to yield to the wishes of her people, and at the same time 
her heart relented to the merits and the deep affection of 
her lover. Further, wearied out by the turbulence of the 
country she has to rule over, she feels how great a relief 
it will be to herself, how great a gain to law and order^ 
that she shall have for her husband a man who has com- 
mand in his nature, and can be trusted to rule her fierce 
subjects. These, indeed, would never " digest a foreign 
husband;" and of her own subjects "there was none, 
either for the reputation of his house or for the worthiness 
of himself, as well in wisdom, valiantness, as in all other 
good qualities, to be preferred or yet compared to him 
whom we have taken." Again the document takes a twist 
There must be something said to palliate the extraordinary 
haste in this royal marriage. Sudi alliances were generally 
affairs on whidi a sort of congress of friendly royalties de- 
liberated. It was but common decorum that she should 
have consulted the King of France, the queen-mother, her 
uncle the cardinal, and some others. Here, again, she 
throws the blame on the importunity of her lover, and the 
impatient pressure of the ruling powers of the country. 
Then, as if the writer felt alarm that what she said in her 
own vindication must react against the other, she pleads 
vehemently that all her friends must be the friends of him 
who is inseparably joined to her. The past is past If 
he has been to blame, it was because his devotion over- 
came his discretion. 

In some measure there is a key to the enigmas of this 
set of instructions, in another given to Sir Robert Melville 
for his guidance in explaining the afiair to Elizabeth. This 
document is much shorter than the other. It bears solely 
on the political necessities which brought about the mar- 
riage — ^the necessity that she should have a husband 
capable to rule her turbulent people, their detestation of 
foreigners, the eminent services and merits of her husband, 
and the pressure of the ruling &milies. Nothing is said 


about the machinations of Bothwell, so fully set forth in 
the other letter. If we abstract these portions from the 
instructions for France, the remainder is in substance 
identical with the English letter. A comparison of the 
two leaves the impression that a note of the general policy 
to be adopted in communicating the marriage to foreign 
powers had been drawn up with care and deliberation, and 
that the queen had added her own particular story to the 
French instructions. This would account for the motley 
and almost contradictory character of the document. It 
is unsafe to adopt absolute theories on such internal evi- 
dence ; but there is no escaping the vivid impression that, 
however the document was put together, those portions 
which narrate the personal conduct of Bothwell towards 
her are directly from herself They endeavour to make 
out that she yielded to what could not be resisted ; yet 
there is a consciousness throughout that she was guilty in 
not resisting. While she make§ out to her old friends of 
France that the man she has married is in every way 
deserving of her love and of his eminent position — that 
he was the man of all others best fitted to be her hus- 
band — ^that political conditions made the act a necessity, — 
how comes it that she gives other and meaner reasons 
for her conduct, and gives them in an apologetic, a 
pleading, almost a penitential tone? My own opinion 
is, that her conscience then accused her of her one act 
of disaffection to the Church of Rome. On all other 
occasions — ^when she pursued Huntly to ruin and death 
— ^when she interpreted her engagement to support the 
Church by law established on a promise to support the 
Reformation — ^when she tolerated, or even caressed her 
brother and his heretic followers — she could plead that 
she bent to circumstances, in order that, when the right 
time came, she might stand up in fuller strength as the 
champion of the Church. But here she was struggling, 
and struggling in vain, to prove that the force of an 
engrossing passion had swept her for a time away from 
her allegiance ; nor could she well assuage her own con- 
science or the wrath of her party by a brief declaration 
that, though forced to unite herself to a heretic, she will 


hold fast by her religion, and does not intend to leave the 
same for him or any man upon earth.^ 

The newly-wedded couple were left much to each 
other's society. Le Croc, tlie French ambassador, notices 
the melancholy emptiness of Holyrood, with a touch of 
the ennui which people of his nation are apt to feel in 
deserted banquet-halls.^ 

* These letters are published by Keith from what he calls ** shat- 
tered MS." They have been on all hands accepted as genuine, and 
are reprinted by Labanoff, ii. 31 d seq. Obtaining them from a 
printed source, that careful editor was not able to follow towards 
them his laudable practice of explaining whether each document 
printed by him was taken from a contemporary copy or from the 
original, and in the latter case whether it was merely signed by Mary 
or holograph. It cannot be believed that she was sufficiently 
acquainted with the vernacular to have written the long letter for 
France straight off in her own hand. But whether or not it be a 
contemporary translation of a letter written by her in French, I 
believe that virtually all that criticises her husband's conduct if 
her own. 

* Tenlet, iL 155. 





Some time passed over before anything occurred to break 
the surface of the tranquil happiness which the new- 
married couple appeared to enjoy. The first alarm of 
danger seems to have occurred in this manner. On the 
28th of May the usual proclamation was issued for a 
'' raid," or assemblage of the feudal force, for an attack 
upon the border marauders. The array was called upon 
to meet the queen and " her dearest spouse " — ^the force 
of the midland counties on the 15th of June, that of the 
border on six hours' warning.^ It was said at the time 

^ See the proclamations in Keith, 395. 


that the intention was to use the army when assembled 
for other purposes. However this may be, instead of the 
usual clanging and bustling preliminaries of such a gather? 
ing, there was an ominous silence; and whatever was 
doing among the barons and their retainers, they were not 
flocking to the border. Those who were absent from 
Court stayed at home ; those who had remained in Edin- 
burgh slipped gradually away. Among them was Lething- 
ton, who said his life was in danger. It was as wiUi 
Macbeth when he said, " The thanes fly from me.'* 
Frightened by this silence, and probably by other hints, 
on the 6th or 7th of June the queen and her husband 
suddenly left Holjnrood, and shut themselves up in Borth- 
wick Castle, twelve miles from Edinburgh. Edinburgh 
Castle would have been the natural place of retreat ; but 
that, for reasons to be presently mentioned, was not 
available. They were scarcely safe in Borthwick when 
the Lords Morton and Hume suddenly appeared with a 
hostile following of some six or eight hundred men — these 
were part of a larger force which had crept from various 
districts towards Edinburgh, expecting to seize the queen 
and her husband in Holyrood. 

Borthwick, a thick-walled square tower like the old 
Norman keeps in England, was strong for a private forta- 
lice, but could not stand artillery, as Cromwell afterwards 
showed by the results of a round or two. It could not 
accommodate a suflicient garrison to cope with an army 
such as was gathering round it, and the fugitives in their 
haste had not brought even such a garrison as it could 
hold. There was nothing for it but flight or surrender 
for Bothwell; as to the queen, the muster professed rather 
to deliver than to attack her. Bothwell managed to 
escape. The queen might have joined the party arrayed 
against the castle; for if she had hitherto acted imder 
either coercion or fear of her husband, both were at an 
end. With him all was suddenly over — there was not the 
faintest chance of his finding a party that would hold out 
for himself alone. 

She took a different course, however. At dead of night 
she got herself let out alone, dressed as a page, and 

THE RISING, 1567. 235 

mounting a pony, rode out upon the wild moorland. 
About two miles south-west of Borthwick is the tower of 
Cakemuir or Black Castle. There she met Bothwell with 
a small party of followers. There could be nothing more 
natural and seemly, under ordinary conditions, than that 
the captive wife should flee into the arms of her husband ; 
but the specialties of the event made it significant and 
unfortunate for the stability of some amiable theories. 
They rode through the night to Dunbar ; and thus, on a 
third memorable occasion, the queen entered that fortress. 

So came the outbreak of a combination which had been 
rapidly maturing. The royal pair, having made no pre- 
paration to meet it, seem not to have been conscious of 
their danger ; but it was palpable to the French ambas- 
sador, who, within three days after the marriage, wrote 
home that Bothwell was a doomed man.^ 

Before the marriage, the leading barons had been 
arranging with each other to cope with Bothwell. Gradu- 
ally ti[ieir objects went farther, and they spoke of dealing 
with the queen herself as one whom it was dangerous to 
leave in possession of the power she held. They opened 
communications with Elizabeth's ministers. That active 
spirit, Kirkcaldy of Grange, was the soul of their consulta- 
tions and projects. He was one of themselves, as a landed 
man, who could bring some followers into the field ; yet 
was he not restrained to the diplomatic reserve of the 
heads of the great houses, but could go about making 
himself busy everywhere as adviser, exhorter, or mes- 
senger. When they had felt their way so far as to know 
what reliance they could place in each other, they sought 
Elizabeth. She was so far with them that she was pre- 
pared to express any amount of reprobation against the 
chief actors in the late events in Scotland. There is 
reason to believe that these really vexed the rival, and 
rather malignant rival as she was, of the great actress in 
them. The utter ruin of one rival is not always pleasant 
to the other. It annihilates those elements of comparison 
which impart a zest tp emulation and rivalry. There is 

^ Teukt. u. 155. 


nothing either to boast or feel internal satisfaction at in 
being something better than an utter wreck. Elizabeth 
had thus sufficient inclination to pour any amount of 
censure on the offenders ; but she was startled when the 
Scots spoke to her about bringing their queen to justice, 
and making a new provision for tiie head of the govern- 
ment in the name of the infant heir. All her sensitive- 
ness to the danger of letting subjects question the doings 
of their sovereigns was roused at once. To meet the 
exigency that the young prince was in danger, she offered 
to take him into her own charge — a proposal likely to 
excite derisive smiles among the Scots lords, who felt that 
the essence of their whole strength lay in the existence 
and the possession of the puling infant. 

The question, indeed, of his safety proved an important 
turning-point in the progress of events. Mar, who had 
him in charge in Stirling Castle, was uneasy for his safety, 
judging the castle not sufficiently strong. Sir James 
Melville hints, but does not flatly say, that the queen her- 
self had pressed Mar to give up the custody of her son, 
and that he had resisted, refusing to do so without the 
authority of the Estates of Parliament.^ The question 
was, What was to be done in the difficulty of all the places 
sufficiently strong to retain so precious a charge being in 
the hands of the enemy? 

Melville claims much credit for the diplomatic skill 
with which he conquered this difficulty. Edinbui^h Castle 
was in chai]^e of one of Bothwell's creatures. Sir James 
Balfour. His master, however, had lately shown some 
suspicions that his devotion was not sufficiently implicit 
Melville, giving a direction to the uneasiness thus created, 
informed Balfour that he had it from Whitelaw, the cap- 

^ " My Lord Mar, wha was a tme nobleman, wald not deliver him 
oat of his cnstodv, alleging that he could not without consent of the 
three Estates. Yet he was sa oft pressed be them that had the auto- 
rity in their hands, that he was put to ane strait after that he had 
made divers refuses ; that he made his moan to me amone^ others, 
praying me to help to saif the prince out of their hands wha had slain 
Ms father, and had made his vaunt already among his familiars that, 
if he could get him ains in his hands, he suld warrant him fra reveng- 
ing of his father's death."— Melville. 179. 


tain of the Castle of Dunbar, that Bothwell was deter- 
mined to take Edinburgh Castle from its present captain, 
and appoint the Laird of Beanston, a Hepburn, in his 
place. Melville then enlarged on the great part Balfour 
would play, if he should be the means of saving the queen 
and the prince from the man who was also going to sacri- 
fice himself.^ 

The immediate consequence of this dealing seems 
to have been that, contrary to the general expectation, 
when the confederates returned to Edinburgh from Borth- 
wick they were not fired on from the castle, but easily 
forced the city gates and entered — welcome to the in- 
habitants, who saw them pour in from the alleys leading 
to the gates and form on the High Street. James Beaton, 
the archbishop's brother, having gone to offer his duty to 
the fugitives at Dunbar, was sent by them with a mes- 
sage to Balfour to hold the castle for the queen and punish 
the rebels.* He found that the confederates had estab- 
lished a watch on the Castle-hill; and having managed 
to pass it, two of the leaders — ^the Lairds of Tullibardine 
and Rossythe — followed him to within twenty paces of 
the castle gate and brought him back. He managed 
afterwards to evade their diligence and get access to Bal- 
four ; but he found " the captain very cauld in his an- 
swering to her majesty's commandments." Presently 
afterwards Secretary Lethington appeared among the 
confederates — a token that there was life in their cause, 
and more to be thrown into it. He went to the castle, 
and, according to Beaton, "spak with the captain the 
space of three hours." This seems to have been con- 
clusive, and the great fortress passed from Bothwell to 
the confederates. These took rapid steps to bring the 
machinery of government into their own hands, to be 
worked, of course, in the queen's name, and for the pur- 
pose of releasing her out of the restraint in which she 
was held. They invaded the " cunyie-house " or mint, and 
took possession of the fount and the " cunyie-irons," or 
matrices for stamping coins. They offered a bounty for 

* MelviUe, 180. ' Letter printed in Laing, ii. 106. 


recruits, and readily obtained them. Finding themselves 
decidedly popular with the citizens, they made a curious 
appeal to their susceptibility by hanging up a picture of 
the finding of Damley's body, the young prince bending 
over it with the legend, "Judge and avenge my cause, O 
Lord ! *' 

One of the earliest steps of the confederates was to 
issue a manifesto ; and as they were strong and in com- 
mand of the capital, it was pitched in a high tone of 
authority. It is dated on the nth June. It is a power- 
fully-reasoned and eloquent document — ^very different in 
tone from the pedantic formality of the bonds and other 
documents so plentiful on the side of the queen and her 
new husband. It refers to the murder in due terms of 
horror and indignation ; and points out that, in a nation 
where such crimes not only go unpunished but uninvesti- 
gated, no one knows what deeds may be committed, and 
no one, high or low, can feel security for life. They are 
banded together for the investigation of this crime ; for 
the release of the queen from the bondage in which she 
is held ; " to cause justice be ministrate equally' to all 
the subjects of this commonweal, and to purge this realm 
of the infamy and slander wherewith as yet it remains 
bruited among all nations.'' In this document there is 
not a breath of suspicion or of disloyalty to the queen ; 
the object held most prominently forward of all is to 
rescue her from her present thraldom and danger.-^ 

Next day a proclamation was issued in the name of 
" the Lords of Privy Council and nobility.*' It charged 
Bothwell with having murdered the king, and afterwards 
used other unlawful means to seduce his sovereign into 
" ane unhonest marriage." It narrates, in its own way, 
and with its own colours, the other events that had oc- 
curred, and asserts that he had made preparations '' whilk 
we look can be with na other effect but to commit the 
like murther upon the son as was upon the father.* Of- 
ficers-at-arms are directed to pass to the market-crosses 
of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, and 

^ Anderson, L 128. 


Other places, and charge all the lieges to be ready, at 
three hours' warning, to join their banner, and aid them 
in delivering the queen from captivity, punishing the mur- 
derers, and rescuing the royal infant from his father's fate.^ 

On the night of the 14th the confederates heard that 
Bothwell.was approaching Edinburgh with a force, and 
they resolved to go forth and meet him. One of their 
reasons for not abiding his attack in their stronghold 
appears to have been that they could not have much re- 
liance on the new-bom virtue of the captain of the castle, 
should he be tempted by the presence of his old master at 
the head of a considerable fcice. They marched at two 
o'clock next morning. They were in all eighteen hundred 
horsemen and four hundred footmen — half of these were 
craftsmen, accustomed to watch-and-ward duty in the 
town. They came in sight of their enemy as they ap- 
proached Musselburgh. 

Let us look now to the other side. The fugitives 
reached the fortress of Dunbar at three o'clock in the 
morning. The author of the Diary, attributed to the cap- 
tain of Inchkeith, hearing of their arrival, set off to join 
them. He found them at Dunbar with hardly any one but a 
few domestics. H^ noticed the peculiarity of the queen's 
dress, especially the brevity of the red petticoat, and that 
she had prepared a couple of casts of hawks and two 
single birds for the field. She had other matters, how- 
ever, to busy her, and was deep in despatches and mes- 
sages to bring together a force. She set off next day to 
Haddington, with a guard of two hundred harquebussiers 
and sixty horsemen. By her own exertions and her hus- 
band's, she had six hundred horsemen round her when 
she reached Haddington. Their recruiting was in the very 
centre of the estates and jurisdictions with which she had 
invested Bothwell ; and the old retainers of his house on 
the border, where he reigned almost supreme as warden, 
were within reach. The queen went on to Seton, her old 
haunt, and when there she could count sixteen hundred 
followers. At what point in the progress her husband 

^ Anderson^ i. 131. 


joined her, those who narrate the affair, otherwise so 
minute, give no information. On the 15th, however, he 
had a gathering that, in numbers at least, seemed fit to 
cope with the confederates. These, however, had greatly 
the advantage in condition for the field. With the excep- 
tion of a few sturdy burgesses, as the eyewitnesses note, 
they were mounted gentlemen, trained to fighting, and in 
excellent condition and discipline. Eighteen hundred of 
them were mounted ; and in the sixteenth century, though 
artillery was breaking down the enormous superiority of 
horsemen over footmen, that would have been a formida- 
ble element in a considerable army. Le Croc, who no- 
ticed the preponderance of horsemen and their fine con- 
dition, also noticed, as a specialty he seems not to have 
seen before, that the Scots horsemen when halting aban- 
doned the saddle, and only mounted for actual fighting. 
Bothweirs men were hastily collected ; there had been no 
time to handle them, so as to know what they were fit 
for. He had no good captains ; and, as an onlooker re- 
marked, they were chiefly " commons " or peasants. He 
had with him a few cannon brought from Dunbar, and 
a portion of these he posted at a ford a little above Mus- 

To those anywise acquainted with the ground, it will 
be best understood how the two armies stood to each 
other by noting that the Esk, which passes Dalkeith and 
Musselburgh, was between them when they first saw each 
other. Bothwell's troops were on the south-east side, 
keeping the upper ridge of the hills or banks. The con- 
federates crossed the river, and competed for the higher 
ground. They seem to have fidgeted about, trying as 
well to occupy high ground as to get rid of the annoyance 
of the sun being in their face, for it was a clear hot day. 
The country presents no decided sweep of predominant 
rising ground, but undulates ; and so both forces occupied 
an elevation, with a bum running in the declivity between, 
now cut by a branch railway. The position taken up by 
Bothwell on Carberry Hill, where there remained some of 
the earthworks left by the English army after the battle of 
Pinkie, is still called Queen Mary's Mount. 


While they were watching each other, Lc Croc, the 
French ambassador, appeared on the scene, his diplomatic 
mind sorely perplexed by the anomalous sight Here 
was royalty on the one side, and rebelUous subjects (XQ 
the other. But with these was the bulk of the rank, states- 
manship, and military capacity of the country — the men 
with whom he used to hold counsel as its government 
heads ; here, too, was an army, small, but respectable botib 
for the social condition of the men and their effective 
training. On the side of royalty he saw crime, folly^ a 
few border lairds for a cour^ and a force of uadriltod 
peasants. Le Croc, however, wished to be of service. 
He was a man of kindly nature, and, as representing the 
crown that had so long exercised a high influence in 
Scotland, he sought to do what he could to stay a conflict 
that must be the first of a civil war. In fact he must have 
felt that whatever he did on the occasion might have a 
material influence on the interests of his own country, and 
on his own position and repute as a statesman. The tone 
of the diplomacy of the day shows that the French Court 
at once took the alarm about the ancient alliance. It was 
predicted that the end of the doings at Holyrood would 
be that Scotland, severed frcm France, would be attached 
to England. The instructions to Le Croc and othen 
pressed him to do his utmost to avert this calamity ; and, 
m the sincerity of uxgent pleading, the importance of 
keeping a hold on Scotland was set forth in terms that 
would have made any true Scot on either side indignant^ 
His way led first to the force of the confederates. With 
these he held talk, but not so long as to give the impression 
that he favoured their cause. Finding there no opening 
for accommodation, he left them, and return in three 
hours to find the aspect of things unchanged. He be- 
sought them, for the love of God, and in the name of his 
master, who wished well both to the queen and to them, 
to try and find a*way to accommodation. They said 

^ ''Le d&ir et intention princijpale de sa majesty est de conserver 
le royanme d'Escosse a sa devotion.*' — Memoir to, or oommvnicated 
to, Le Croc; Teulet (8yo ed.), iL 324. 



there was no other but the queen's giving up her husband 
to them. Speak of it, he said, as they would, their act 
was war against their queen; and should God favour 
them so that they gained a battle, they would be more 
than ever at a los» how to act. They said there were 
just two wa3rs of averting bloodshed : the one was for the 
queen to part with the traitor in whose hands she was, the 
other was for him to step forth prepared for single combat 
He would find one ready to fight him, and another, and 
another, up to ten or a dozen, if he desired it. The 
ambassador said both alternatives would be offensive to 
the queen, and he would have to do with neither : had 
they nothing else to offer? No, nothing; and in strong 
language they swore that they would get the truth of the 
king's death laid bare. He seems to have found himself 
in controversy with them. He intended, apparently, if 
he saw any hope of good results, to have passed at his 
ease between the two forces, bringing matters by degrees 
to a reconciliation. Having found as yet nothing but 
defiance among the confederates, he proposed to cross 
over and speak with the queen. This was objected to. 
He complained loudly of the awkward position in which 
he was thus placed. Communicating with them alone, 
he would appear to throw his weight into their side. 
They had no right to put him in that position ; he must 
retire if he were not to see the queen. No restraint was 
put on him; but to pass over to the queen's force he 
required to have a proper convoy. He does not tell who 
they were who were so discoiuteous as to refuse him this ; 
but he describes with vividness how Secretary Lethington 
came forward with graceful courtesy, expressed his respect 
for the ambassador of so great a king, to whom he and 
his friends offered their humble duty, desiring earnestly 
that the old alliance between the two nations might exist 
uninterrupted. He told the ambassador frankly that he was 
free to come and go at his will between the two forces, 
and would be provided, so far as concerned their side, 
with the means of doing so. They gave him an escort of 
fifty horse, who had to take him beyond their own proper 
lines; for he found that there had already crossed the 


brook, in advance on the queen's party, some two hundred 
troopers, with nine hundred as a support 

He was brought first in presence of the queen alone ; 
and having paid his duty, he told her what grief the 
knowledge of her present position would bring to the King 
of France, and also to the queen — as to whom, however, 
the sincerity of his remark may be doubted. He told her 
that he had spoken with the confederate lords, and what they 
had said, begging her to weigh their words and intentions 
well ; for they were still her loving subjects, though the 
position they had taken might look otherwise. She said 
that they used her very ill, since she had only complied 
with their own bond, and taken the husband they had 
dictated to'her. Nevertheless, if they would acknowledge 
his position and ask his pardon, she was ready to open 
her arms to them. 

At this point the husband came up. Hp and the 
ambassador saluted each other; but the proud French- 
man specially notes that he declined the embrace of 
friendship. He tells how Bothwell demanded, with an 
air of assurance, and in a loud voice that his followers 
might hear, if it was he that was wanted The ambassador 
answered aloud that he had spoken to the other force, and 
they had assured him they were the very humble subjects 
and servants of the queen ; and then, in a whisper for his 
own particular ear, that they were his mortal enemies. 
Bothwell, again speaking so as to be heard around, asked 
what he had done to them. He had never wished to 
offend any one, but desired to please all ; they were in- 
fluenced by mere envy of his greatness ; but every man was 
free to enjoy his own good fortune ; and there was not one 
of them but would gladly be in his place. Then he be- 
came very earnest, and besought the ambassador, for the 
love of God, to relieve the queen from a position which 
gave him great pain, and also to prevent bloodshed. Le 
Croc he said was fi-ee to tell the confederates that, though 
he had the honour to be husband to the queen, he would 
enter in gage of battle with any of them, provided he were 
of proper quality ; and he would fight, holding his cause 
to be so just that he felt assured God would be with him. 


But the queen forbade this^ and Le Croc declined to take 
the message. 

Bothwdl then remarked that more talk was useless ; 
he saw his enemies coming, some of them having passed 
the brook. He hinted to the ambassador that, if he de- 
sired to imitate him who mediated between the armies 
of Scipio and Hannibal, he should hold himself impartial, 
and take part with neither side, but stand aloof during the 
fighting and see the best fun that ever was; and if he 
would imitate this example, he would have the like, for he 
would see good fighting. Le Croc said it was not where 
the queen and these two armies were concerned that he 
would enjoy such a sight ; on the contrary, it had never 
been his lot to behold a scene that could so grieve him. 
Some more talk of a general character they seem to have 
had before parting. Bothwell boasting of his own strength, 
the other admitted that he had a greater number of men — 
four thousand, while they had some five hundred fewer, 
and he had three pieces of artillery — ^but were all to be 
trusted to hold by his cause ? Le Croc had just come 
firom a force gallantly and sagaciously led, where there 
were several wise heads, and all were resolute ; but here 
was no one to be depended on but the leader, and he 
questioned if more than a half would stand by him. In 
fact several slipped over to the other side, and the force 
was much weakened by many others falling out to refresh 
themselves in the hot day. Le Croc bade adieu to the 
queen with extreme regret, leaving her with the tear in her 
eye. He went back to the confederate lords, and told 
them the condition on which the queen would be recon- 
ciled to them ; but they were resolute, and would have 
no more discussion ; and each taking his morion in his 
hand, bade him for God's sake depart, thanking him for 
his well-meant efforts. He withdrew accordingly, and re- 
turned to Edinburgh with a heavy heart. 

After he went, the two forces, which had stood immov- 
able from eleven in the forenoon till five in the afternoon, 
crept near each other — but each still sought an elevation ; 
and when they were very close, it required that the one 
making the attack should go down into a little valley in 


the first place. The ambassador noticed the banners. 
The queen's was the royal lion ; that of the confederate 
lords, their favourite picture of .the murdered man and the 
infant prince.^ 

Presently a small party of the queen's force descended 
and proffered 2iparle, They were joined by a like body 
on the other side, and it was determined between them 
that the gage of battle should be tried. Tullibardine, 
understood to have been active in the afOair of the accu- 
satory placards, came forward, but Bothwell declined to 
acknowledge him as of sufficient rank. He wished to 
measure swords with Morton, but this life the confederates 
thought too valuable to be so risked. Lindsay was the 
next. He imitated, so far as was consistent with Pro- 
testant usage, the religious ceremony of the old gage of 
battle, and prayed on his knees conspicuously between 
the two forces. When the queen's consent was asked, 
she wavered, appeared to yield to such a sacrifice for 
the avoidance of bloodshed, but in the end forbade the 

The confederates now were determined to advance ; 
and it became clear to Bothwell that his own party, 
thinned by deserters, and not all disposed to combat, 
would not stand the charge of the well-disciplined force 
descending into the hollow. Seeing this, it became part 
of the policy of the confederates to prevent the escape of 
Bothwell ; and Kirkcaldy of Grange was detached, with 
two hundred mounted men, to flank the enemy, and in- 
tercept his retreat to Dunbar. The queen observing 
Kirkcaldy, sent a message desiring to have conference 

^ Le Croc describes it : '* Une enseigne blanche, oil il y avoit ung 
homme mort aupres d'un arbre, et ung enfant qui est k genoulx, le- 
presentant le prince de ce royaiune, qui tient ung escrit oil il y a 
' Rerenche, O mon Dieu, de ma juste cause I ' ** The captain of 
Inchkeith, who seems to have had a heraldic mind, describes it with 
a dmacteristic difierence : *' Une ansigne blanche en quoy estoit tire 
ung abre vert, ayant une branch rompue, ung homme mort au pied, 
vestu d'une chemise blanche, dans un champ vert, et ung en&nt assis 
audessus de son chef, tenant ung escriteau en sa main, disant, ' O 
Seigneur, juge et revange ma qverelle 1 ' " — ^Tenlet (8vo ed. ), ii. 3061 



with him ; and having got a safe-conduct, he consented. 
He appears to have bluntly told the queen that all would 
honour aUd serve her if she would abandon the murderer 
of her husband. Melville tells us that, while he so spoke, 
'' the Earl fiodwell had appointed a soldier to shoot him, 
until the queen gafe a cry, and said that he should not do 
her that shame wha had promised that he should come 
and return safely." This incident is not mentioned by 
the other narrators. It is not quite clear whether it was 
then, or when called on a second time to confer with 
the queen, that the confederates grew tmeasy about his 
detention, and continued their advance. A hasty stip- 
ulation tlien passed that Bothwell should, unmolest- 
ed, depart for Dunbar, and the queen render herself. 
They parted, as we are told, like fond lovers, with many 
kisses, and much sorrow on her part.^ He mounted 
and galloped off with a slender train. His last words 
to the queen were an exhortation to continue true to 
her plighted faith. 

At that moment the cup of the wretched woman's bit- 
terness must have been filled to the brim. One by one 
every refuge had been closed ; and over the wide world 
at home, as well as abroad, there was no quarter to 
which she could look for countenance. England from 
the first was not to be thought of. But at the Court of 
France the door was even more hopelessly closed. There 
was strong suspicion there of her guilt ; and the deed was 
not one of those acts, perpetrated with Italian subtlety and 
external decorum in the inner recesses of courts, of which 
people circulate timid whispers, but was a flagrant act — 
the common talk of her own people. At all events she 
had become the husband of one guilty beyond all question 
of the crime held in chief abhorrence at Court; and not 
only so, but she had brought scandal on the royalty of 
France — she, the queen-dowager, allying herself with one 
too well known in Paris — ^noble, no doubt, as all Scots 
were, but a needy adventurer, seeking fortune wherever 

^ ** Avecque grande angoise et doullear de son const^ ; et plus son* 
ventefoiss'entrebessirent."— Captain of Inchkeith; Tenlet, IL 307 


and however he could find her, and notorious for indulg- 
ence in vices of a low cast. Then the bulk of what was 
lionourable and respectable among her own subjects had 
taken arms against her, and the rest would not strike in 
her defence. But sorest, perhaps, of all the arrows at her 
heart, was the unkindness of him for whom she had en- 
countered all. This dread skeleton in the house can 
generally be kept in its secret receptacle in the courts of 
princes, and even the abodes of moderate respectability ; 
but everything in Holyrood went on too passionately and 
flagrantly for concealment Many noticed that she was 
an oppressed, insulted wife. But little incidents referred 
to by persons present are more expressive than general 
accusations. Le Croc said that, immediately after the 
marriage, she was curious to know whether he had noticed 
somewhat of her husband's strange usage towards her, and 
told him not to wonder if her manner were sad, for she 
was in deep distress. Once, too, in an inner chamber, 
where she was alone with her husband, she was heard to 
weep, and to say she wished she had a knife, that she 
might put an end to her existence. By a rare coincidence 
this was heard both by Le Croc and Melville — it was re- 
ported by the former to the King of France, and recorded 
by the latter in his Diary. 

Such incidents are serviceable to those who hold that 
the unhappy woman was the mere helpless victim of fraud 
and force — a sort of realisation of the old stories about 
giants and enchanters, or of the romances with the t}rrant 
lord who, gifted with powers almost as preternatural, seizes 
and imprisons the doomed princess. But there is another 
cause for such phenomena, with which the daily world is 
unfortunately more familiar — the woman with many gifts, 
and the one fatal weakness that induces her to throw 
them at the feet of an unworthy object ; the victim of a 
blind imperious passion, giving herself over, body and 
soul, to one so thoroughly selfish and brutal, that no at- 
tachment or gratitude, no prudential restraint, will even 
for a brief space suspend the impulses of his sensual and 
tyrannical nature. 

Whatever at that moment passed through her mind, 


the queen acted her part with her usual grace and princely 
decorum. According to Melville's Diary, she said, 
" * Laird of Grange, I render me unto you, upon the con- 
dition3 ye rehearsed to me in the name of the lords ; ' and 
gave him her hand, whilk he kissed, and led her majesty 
by the bridle down the brae unto the lords, who came 
forwaiid and met her.'' Her selection showed a sagacious 
instinct, and her courtesy that day is believed to have 
won for her a champion. We are told that the lords used 
all dutifiil reverence j " but some of the rascals cried out 
despiteftdly," until they were put down by indignant re- 
monstrances and chastisement And so the queen returned 
to Edinburgh.^ 

The confederates were not destined to find in their 
captive the meek resignation of a broken spirit. After 
the first touch of depression was over, a reaction seems 
to have come, which hurried>her on into one af those out- 
bursts of rage which, more than once in the course of her 
life, got the better of her usual subtlety. She let loose her 
fonnidable tongue, and hit right and left with maddening 
effect She seems to have been particularly successful in 
fmding a sore in the gruff and surly Lindsay, and to have 
torn at it remorselessly with her sharp sarcasm, while he, 
accustomed to weapons of a different kind, could retaliate 
nothing. What was more serious, however, than all this, 
she swore she would have all their lives ; and spoke, ieven 

^ The account of these transactions is, with some little assistance 
from Melville's Diary, taken from the accounts of three eyewitnesses, 
aJl happily uniting in the minuteness and the general conformity ot 
their aetfuls. One is the ' Letter of James Beaton, the Archbuhop 
of Glasgow's brother, to his brother Mr Andrew, to be given to the 
archbishop, containing the Proceeding in Scotland from the iith to 
the 17th of June 1767 ; ' printed in Lamg, ii. 106. Another is a long 
letter by Le Croc to the King of France ; printed by Teulet (8vo^ 
ii. 313. The ^rd is called ' R^t des Ev^nements du 7 au 15 Join 
1567, par le Capitaia d'Inchkeith ; ' printed by Teulet, ii. 300. The 
Oiptain was a Frenchman. It was agreed, as we have seen at the 
treaty of Edinburgh, that a small French garrison should continue to 
occupy this island in the Forth. It had b^n, like Dunbar, evacuated 
by its French occupants, so that his captainship must have ' 
a tHte of courtesy. 



as she then was, like one luxuriating in the execution of 
her vengeance.^ 

When the captive reached Edinburgh, the procession 
got an ugly reception from the common people. The 
great High Street was filled with a mob deeply excited, 
who uttered revilings and accusations in abundance. It 
was observed that the loudest and fiercest denunciations 
came from her own sex, and not the most virtuous portion 
of it The scene in the celebrated banner, drawn ap- 
parently on a large scale, was spread before her, with 
sedulous endeavours to catch her eye whatever way she 
turned. A portion of the natural excitement of the time 
appears oddly enough to have expended itself on paint- 
ing. Several representations seem to have been made of 
the discovery of the body, with more or less of allegorical 
machinery; and several other pictures made their appear- 
ance, which, either through allegory or an attempt to repre- 
sent facts, gave shape to the feelings of their producers. 
Caricatures they could not be called, for they had a deadly 
earnestness about them — and still less were they entitled 
to be called specimens of historical art ; but they were 
deemed as signs of the times, so important that some of 
them may now be found among the documents of tlie 
period, which were preserved in the State Paper Ofiice.* 

Another phenomenon of the time may be found in the 
creaticm of the Edinburgh mob. The strange exciting 
history passing before it gave it life; and, finding its 

^ ** Ne parla jamais que de les faire tous pendre et crocifiery et con- 
tinae tousjoors. — Le Croc to Catherine of Medici; Teulet, ii. 310. 

' There is one in which an attempt is made to represent the whole 
scene of the murder — the shattered house, the Hotel of the Hamiltons 
beside it, the city gate and wall, the remnant of the old Kirk-of-Fidd, 
the bodies, and the assembled crowd of citizens. A copy of this will 
be found in Chalmers's Life of Queen Mary. It is curious to observe 
how that industrious and earnest author, while deeply immersed in 
the'fnrtheranoe of one of his hobbies, the vindication of Queen Mary, 
seizes the passing opportunity to assist another which bore on the 
prevalence of the Celtic language and customs in Scotland. He takes 
the slight liberty of dressing about one-half of the attendant mob in 
the kilt and other elements of the modem Highland costume. A 
more correct rendering of tiie picture will be found in David Laing't 
' Registrum Domus dc Soltre edited for the Bannatyne Club. 


Strength, it continued, down to within the memory of per- 
sons still living, a permanent and formidable instilntion. 
The well-trained force of the confederates was perhaps 
sufficient to control any actual violence. The condition 
of the town, however, was from the first embarrassing. It 
appears to have been owing to this that it was thought 
imprudent to convey the captive down the High Street 
and Canongate to Hol)n-ood. Hence she was lodged in 
the house d[ tlie provost, which stood on the north side 
of the cross, where the Council-house and the Exchange 
buildings now stand. ^ Her conduct there is one of the 
most astounding features in the whole narrative. Several 
times during the afternoon she appeared at the window so 
scantily and carelessly dressed that the sight was incon- 
sistent with proper feminine decorum; and there she 
moaned and cried and wailed to the mob that gathered 
thick upon the street Beaton, with a touch of good feel- 
ing and that minute attention to detail which makes his 
story so valuable, says, " Na man could look upon her 
but she movit him to pity and compassion. For my ain 
part, I was satisfied to hear of it, and micht not suffer to 
see it." That she, who never was known to depart from 
the etiquette of her rank except to dignify that departure 
by her grace and wit, should so revolt against her proper 
nature, was an expressive addition to the astounding 
events that had excited the Edinburgh populace. It 
goes, with other incidents, to show that the terrible ex- 
citement of her recent life must have in some measure 
disordered her brain. 

Lethington was an eyewitness of this scene. He went 
into the provost's house, and tried to soothe the queen. 
The street in front was cleared of the mob ; but the ex- 
citement of the people had got an impulse, and Le Croc 
found that by evening there was much alarm about the 
preservation of peace in the city. Le Croc expressed 

^ Le Croc, when reporting this to his master, makes haste to re- 
move the impression likely to be created at the French Court by thii 
bimrgeoisement treatment of royalty : " Je sais bien, sire, qne ce nom 
de prdvost sera bien odienx en France, mais en ce pays c'est comme 
la principale maison de la ville." — Teulet, IL 319. 


himself satisfied that the confederates were reasonable in 
their ultimate views — that they only wanted to get hei 
separated fi:om Bothwell, in the belief that they might 
then safely return to their duty towards her as their 
sovereign. His chief anxiety, indeed, was lest they 
should not feel strong enough to cope with their enemy, 
and might seek assistance from Elizabeth, a contingency 
that might be fatal to the French alliance. He seemed 
to hint to them that, rather than this should be, they 
might expect aid from France ; but he implored them, if 
possible, to get this affair brought to a conclusion. 

But under Le Croc's eyes, and even while he was ex- 
plaining these views to Lethington, the affair took a 
sudden and disagreeable turn. Believing that ^e queen 
led a miserable life with her husband, the confederates 
thought she would be easily severed from him. Her 
wild talk the night before, however, had led them to 
suspect that she was frantic to return to his arms, and 
she had acted so as to confirm this view. Le Croc was 
told by Lethington that he had had a conversation with 
her, in which she reproached him for severing her from 
the husband with whom she hoped to live and die with 
all the satisfaction in the world. He answered that he 
and his comrades were far from feeling that they did her 
injury by this separation ; on the contrary, they believed 
it to be in every way tlie best thing for her futiure honour 
and tranquillity. He tried what jealousy would do, and 
said her husband was still in correspondence with his 
former wife, and had told her that she was his real wife 
and the queen his mistress. The queen gave an angry de- 
nial to this, and he shortly replied that the letters would 
show it. Lethington said the conference ended by her 
asking if she and her husband would be permitted together 
in a ship, to sail where fortune should direct. To this 
draft on the precedents of the romances, the "Chame- 
leon," as Buchanan calls him, made answer, evidently 
in a vein of dry sarcasm, that, provided the pair did 
not happen to land in France, he thought it about 
the best thing they could do. It seems clear, too, that 
she wrote a letter to her husband, which the messengei 


she had hired to convey it faithlessly delivered to the 
confederates. Melville renders its purport as "calling 
him* her dear heart, whom she should never forget nor 
abandon for absence ; and that she sent him away only 
for his safety, willing him to be comforted, and to be 
upon his guard." 

In this state of matters — ^the city in commotion, a 
frantic queen within it, and an unscrupulous enemy at 
hand, whom she would do everything to help — the lead- 
ing men seem to have adopted a hurried resolution that 
there was no alternative but to get the queen "se- 
questered" in some place, quiet, remote, and safe. Le 
Croc, who carefully watched what was doing, and imme- 
diately reported it home, was unable to give the same 
satisfactory account of these hasty movements as of the 
deliberate proceedings of the confederates. He knew 
that at nine o'clock in the evening she had been con- 
veyed to Holyrood as if to reside there in her usual state, 
but that during the night she had been taken to the port 
of Leith, where a vessel received her with her attendants 
and a guard. Farther than this he was at fault In his 
letter to his king dated 17th June, he presumed that their 
destination was Stirling; but in his next he said the 
queen had been taken to Loquelin, or Lochleven. 

The 20th of June, three days after these stirring events, 
is the date of an incident small in itself, and known at 
the time to few, which proved, however, of mighty 
moment in the politics of the day, and has since given 
occasion for a whole library of critical and disputative 
literature. Bothwell, in his hurry to leave Edinburgh, left 
behind him, as people on such occasions are apt to do, an 
article which he highly valued. It had been taken with 
him into the Castle of Edinburgh, and there left. It is de- 
scribed as a casket about a foot long, decorated with silver 
over-gilt, and bearing the crown of France and the initials 
of Francis II., from whom it had passed to his widow, 
and then to her third husband. It contained papers of 
value, and Bothwell was very anxious to recover them. 
He sent his servant, George Dalgleish, to bring the casket 
from Edinburgh to Dunbar. The man was intercepted. 


however, and the casket found its way to Morton's hands. 
It is possible that a hint may have been given of the 
removal by Balfour the governor ; but as Dalgleish was 
then wanted as an accessory of the murder of Damley, 
the probability is that he was apprehended on this 
ground, and the casket found with him. The papers 
afterwards produced as the contents of this casket, 
whether, indeed, they were its real contents or mere for- 
geries, were the ground on which the subsequent actions 
of Queen Mary's opponents rested ; and hence it is that 
the little incident of the discovery of the casket expands 
into a great political event.^ Besides the contract of 
marriage already referred to, and some other documents, 
the momentous portion of these papers consisted of eight 
letters and some poetry called sonnets, all declared to be 
in the handwriting of Queen Mary, and' in that Latin or 
Italian form of writing which she was about the first to 
practise in Scotland, and which at once distinguishes 
her manuscripts ftom the ordinary (Jothic writing of the 

The literary history of these letters and sonnets is 
curious. The originals have long been lost. They were 
among Morton's effects when he was executed ; and there 
has been an impression that they passed into the hands 
of King James, by whom they were destroyed. The 
source from which we now know their nature is a I^atin 
translation of them appended to Buchanan's Detection of 
the Doings of Queen Mary, published in 1572. In the 
translation of that work, which appeared in the same 
year, and is attributed to Buchanan himself, there is a 
rendering of the whole into the Scots vernacular, and of 

^ The chivalrous class to whom Mary's innocence is a creed rather 
than an opinion, will not blame me for having constructed my nar- 
rative without reference to the contents of the casket. In the sup- 
position that they are genuine, they were a secret between two 
criminals which did not yet b^n to influence others ; and it seemed 
to be the historian's proper duty to deal with what was known to, 
and consequently influenced, the actors at large on the political stage. 
From the 20th of June 1567, however, the ruling power in Scotland 
took its stand upon the import of these letters ; and it is, therefore, 
firom that day that they properly become a part of Dublic history. 


nearly the whole into French. Having them in this shape, 
we have no means of critically judging of the style of the 
original; and any evidence that might be found in the 
minuter turns of expression, sometimes so effective when 
the general tenor of the writing is ambiguous, is lost 
The tone of these papers is, however, so impetuous, and 
their tenor so emphatic and distinct, as to leave, at least 
in the essentials, no doubtful meanings which a reference 
to the original might have cleared. The same qualities 
render it practicable to give a description of the docu- 
ments, and a brief rendering of their more emphatic pas- 
sages, without the risk of injustice. To feel the signifi- 
cance of these passages, it is only necessary to keep in 
view the chain of events which begins with the queen's 
visit to her sick husband in Glasgow.^ 

The first letter is long. It goes over many minute 
transactions, to some of which we have now no clue. It is 
apparent, however, that to a forger they must have been 
perilous material, as affording numerous points from which 
his work might be assailed. She apologises, indeed, for 
writing about everything, however trifling, in order that 
the receiver of her letter may have the means of estimat- 
ing the significance of all the occurrences. In this abridg- 
ment it is considered unnecessary to. glean from the 
document anything that has not in itself a plain meaning, 

^ It is scarcely necessaxy to infonn the reader where he wiU find 
the documents at length. They have been repeatedly printed, and 
are given in nearly every one of the voluminous pleadings on both 
sides of the great controversy. The most carefully edited copy of 
them b, however, undoubtedly that given by M. Teulet in the volume 
of * Lettres de Marie Stuarl^' which he published for the purpose of 
supplying deficiencies in Pnuce Labanoff 's Collection. Tne French 
contemporary translation of the ' Detectio' and its documents has the 
title ' Histoire de Marie Ro3me D'Escosse, touchant la conjuration 
faicte contre le Roy, et Fadultere commis avec la Comte de Bothwel, 
histoire vrayement tragique, traduicte de Latin en Francois. A Edim- 
bouig, par Thomas Anraltem, 1572.' It is from this that the usual 
French version of the letters and sonnets is taken. Though bearing 
the imprint of Edinbuig^h, the translation was probably prepared in 
France, perhaps even printed there, since two v's are used for w. 
It was usual to have a Dutch, and occasionally a Scots imprint, on 
works that could not be safely published in France. 


or a reference to some known and significant event. She 
begins with a sentiment: having gone from the place 
where she had left her heart, it will easily be believed how 
unable ishe was to enjoy society, insomuch that, until 
dinner-time, she spoke to no one, nor did any one ven- 
ture to address her. Four miles firom Glasgow she was 
met by a gentleman of Lennox's household — the same 
Craufurd whose account of these transactions is elsewhere 
referred to. There was some rather exciting talk. Crau- 
furd had to explain how Lennox did not come in person 
— ^he was scared by the harsh words the qu^en had used 
to Cunningham — probably the same who afterwards re- 
presented BothwelFs trial. The queen remarked 
that Lennox would not have been afraid to come had he 
not been conscious of guilt. She then stood on her dig- 
nity, and closed the discussion. Others she encountered, 
with whom her conversation was still more obscure and 
incidental ; but she remarked that none of the Glasgow 
citizens came to see her, whence she inferred that they 
were on her husband's side. Of him the first note we 
have is an inquiry of one of the domestics of the queen, 
why she lodged not beside him. If she did so, he would 
rise the quicker from his sick-bed ; and he was anxious to 
know whether her visit was intended as a step towards 
reconciliation. He particularly desired to know if Both- 
well himself were in his wife's train, and also if she had 
made her " State." He wanted to know if she had taken 
Paris and Gilbert into her service, and was to send Joseph 
Rizzio away. She expressed extreme annoyance at his 
being thus acciurately informed of her private motions — 
he spoke even of the marriage of Bastiat ! When they 
met, she taunted him with some complaints in his letters 
about the hardships he had to suffer. He, instead of 
answering to the point, gave words to his astonishment 
and excessive joy at seeing her — he believed he might die 
of gladness, but he rallied her on her pensiveness. In a 
second visit which he begged of her, he said his sickness 
was caused by her unkindness — he would make no testa- 
ment, but only leave everything to her. Then comes an 
outpouring, which she professes to report in full : " You 


ask me what I mean by the cruelty spoken to in my let- 
ters. It comes of you albne, who will not accept of my 
promises and repentance. I confess I have b^en in &ult, 
but. not in the shape which I ever denied. So also I 
have failed in my duty to some of your subjects, but this 
you have forgiven. I am young. You will say you have 
forgiven me over and over, and still I repeat my oflfences. 
May not a man of my age, for lack of counsel, fall twice 
jr thrice, or fail in his promises, yet repent and be chas- 
tened bjr experience ? If I be foi^ven, I protest I shall 
never sm again, I desire nothing whatever but that we 
may live again at bed and board together as husband and 
wife ; and if you will not consent to this, I shall never 
rise out of this bed. I pray you tell me your resolution. 
God knows how I am punished for making my god of 
you, and for having no other thought but on you. And 
if I am remiss towards you, you are yourself the cause ; 
for when I have cause of offence, if I might take my com- 
plaint to yourself, I would go nowhere else ; but when I 
hear rumours while you are estranged, I am of necessity 
compelled to keep it to myself, and this irritates me until 
it makes me beside myself with anger." 

She says she answered him on each particular, but her 
part of the discussion was too long to be set down. Then 
follows the general purport of a talk about her husband's 
suspicions as to plots for his assassination, and his plans 
to escape abroad. The matters are briefly touched, as if 
the writing were to be read by one minutely acquainted 
with the particulars. Among these there is a certain 
" purpose of Heigate " — referring to a person so named, 
a servant of Bishop Beaton, whom Mary herself had 
charged with propagating a tale that the king was to take 
the young prince and have him crowned.^ The impres- 
sion made by these explanations, as by several others of 
a like kind dispersed through the correspondence, is that 
she has exhausted all the particulars of his fears, suspicions, 
and general grumblings, as completely as an able counsel 
draws out of an unwilling witness everything he knows. 

^ Letter to Beaton ; Labanofl; L 396. 


She describes with a slight touch of scorn how she 
brings him on from suspicion to unwelcome demonstra- 
tions of tenderness. He wants her to sleep in his lodging, 
to walk with him, and to take him away with her when 
she goes. He refers at the same time to the terrors now 
dispelled. He believes she, his own flesh and blood, 
would do him no harm ; and he boasts that others would 
find it diflicult to assail him. Then comes one of the 
significant passages. If she did not know that his heart 
was of wax, while her own was of diamond, incapable of 
being penetrated from any quarter but the adored one she 
writes to, she might have almost had pity on the poor 
creature. But no fear ; she will hold out : let him she ad- 
dresses take heed that he be not seduced by that false 
race his wife's family. A little farther down she says they 
are coupled with two false races. " May the devil sever 
us firom them, and God unite us together for ever ! '* Be- 
tween the two allusions to the false races she asks if he is 
not inclined to laugh to see her lie so well, or at least 
dissemble with gleams of truth between. Next she is 
getting tired, and thinks of postponing her task till the 
morning; but she cannot sleep unless it were, as she 
would desire, in the arms of her dear love. Here she de- 
sires him to tell her what he intends to do in the matter 
he knows about, that nothing be mismanaged. Then 
come more tokens of weariness, and remarks on her hus- 
band's disease, which perhaps would not soimd so offen- 
sive in the original French as in the translations. His 
breath, she says, has nearly slain her ; and to realise its 
ofifensiveness, she tells Bothwell that it is worse than his 
own uncle's. She had almost foigotten to say that, in 
presence of the Lady Reres at supper, Livingston had 
rallied her oA the sorrowful condition in which she had 
left a certain person at a distance. 

The continuation appears to be a resumption next day. 
She had worked two hours at a bracelet for her beloved, 
trying to make it lock ; he must be carefiil not to show it, 
for it has been seen, and will be at once traced to her. 
She is now going to recommence her detestable purpose. 
The lord of her heart makes her dissemble, so that she 

you IV, n 



; feels like a traitress ; if it were not in obedience to him^ 

she would rather die than do it — ^her heart bleeds at it 
She found she had the work to do over again, and her 
husband was by no means so compliant as she had left 
him the evening before. He will not come with her un- 
less ^she agree to live with him at bed and board as be- 
fore; and his suspicions crop out again, to be smoothed 
down by her skilful tongue. He will do whatever she 
desires, and will love herself and all that she loves. Then 
follow a few penitential words, and the old excuse that 
she is led by a hand she cannot resist. As a token of the 
implicitness of her obedience come in some words — ^very 
few, but so significant that they must touch with awe who- 
ever comes incidentally across them, whether he believe 
them to be the woman's own, or foiled by others for her 
condemnation. She prays her lord to consider whether 
the deed might not be don^ in some more secret way — 
by medicine, for there must be medicine with the bath at 
Craigmillar. Then another passionate wail about her hor- 
ror of deceit — she would not do it for her own particular 
revenge, she does the bidding of the spirit that has mas- 
tered hers. A good deal there still is in the letter ; but it 
is incoherent repetition about her husband's suspicions 
and her own spells to lull them, the bracelet sent as a 
love-token, her jealousy of his wife's influence, and her 
assurance that she is ready to sacrifice honour, conscience, 
rank, and life itself for her chosen lord's love. 

There are eight letters in all, but this one alone is 
longer than all the rest together. The second in order is 
a short querulous letter, complaining of forgetfulness and 
neglect ; her husband is still in a trusting and caressing 
humour; she playfully remarks that her true lord may 
think he is making love to her and with success, but his 
very presence renews her infirmity in her side. One articu- 
late announcement there is — she brings the man with her 
to Craigmillar on Monday, and there he will remain all 
Wednesday, while she goes into Edinburgh to be bled. 

The third letter, set down as written from Glasgow in 
January, but not on a specific day, is rather purposeless. 
It shows that Bothwell apprehended danger firom her pro- 


fuse writing and her many messages, and she craves for- 
giveness for disobe)dng his injunction neither to write nor 
send ; and yet there seems to be no practical object to be 
served in the letter — ^it looks like a mere irrepressible 
outburst of suspicion and jealousy of her rival the existing 
wife. She wonders whether that rival is to win over her 
what the second love of Jason won. There is something 
dramatic in the effect of this allusion to the Medea. The 
mind worked up to the point on which it tells, conscious 
that the letters recall some vision of love and jealousy 
drawing on their victim to hatred and murder, might, 
even unaided by the hint, have remembered the terrible 
creation of Euripides.^ After much amorous and jealous 
raving, the letter ends with a brief notification that she 
was afraid to write in the presence of Joseph (Rizzio), 
Bastiat, and Joachim, and had to wait till they departed. 

The next is a short letter in the same tone as the rest, 
but bearing on some incidental grumbling of her lord, as 
to something that one of her women had done which 
frightened or displeased him. 

All these letters are attributed to the month of January ; 
the next is, on the same ground — internal evidence — ^re- 
ferred to April. It deals with the plot for carrying her off 
to Dunbar. She is distracted by the uncertainty of the 
arrangements and the insufficiency of his information for 
her guidance. Then comes to her in her perplexities his 
false brother Huntly, who, professing to act as his mes- 
senger to fix the time and place where he was to intercept 
her, breaks in with his croakings : It was a foolish enter- 
prise, and with her honour she could not marry the man 
who carried her off while yet he was the husband of 
another; and then her majesty's guard in attendance 
would never be got to submit to such a humiliation. But 
she has now gone so far that she is resolved to complete 
the work. No persuasion, not the prospect of death it- 
self, can shake her resolution. Then come jealous and 

^ In the ' Inventory of the Queen's Books in the Castle of Edin- 
burgh, delivered by the Earl of Morton to King James VI.,' is ' The 
Historie of Jasone.* — Inventories, cxlvi 


querulous railings. Why call on her to fix the place? 
He should have adjusted all that, and told her. He has 
risked all through that false brother whom she does not 
trust with her letter ; but if failure be the end, she will 
never raise her head again. The bearer will tell him her 
miserable plight j and what effect his vacillations and in- 
distinct counsels must have on it let him judge. She had 
expected other things, but she sees the influence of 
absence and of that other one. He must not send an 
answer by Huntly ; and so God give him good-night. 

The next letter is a short piece of subtle casuistry. It 
looks forward to the way out of the difficulty into which 
they are plunging. She thinks his services, and the good 
esteem long entertained for him by his brother lords, may 
justify his pardon, should he take on himself beyond the duty 
of a subject — ^not to restrain her, but to assure himself of 
such a place near to her, that the persuasions or intei- 
ference of others may not prevent her fi-om consenting to 
realise the hopes which he may have founded on his ser- 
vices. To be short, let him make himself secure of the 
lords and free to many ; and let him represent that, to be 
able to serve his sovereign faithfully, he was driven to 
join an importunate act with a humble request. He 
knows, if he likes, how to set the matter in right trim, and 
will not neglect many fair words to Lethington. If he 
like not the deed, let him say so, and not leave the whole 
burden on her. 

Circumstances gave those who had the handling of the 
letters the means of precisely dating the next on the 226. 
of April. It begins about his brother-in-law that was. 
There are no jealousies or suspicions of treachery in that 
quarter now ; but he has perplexed her with doubts about 
tiie affair to come off the day after to-morrow, because 
there are many, and among them the Earl of Sutherland, 
who will rather die than see their sovereign lady carried 
off when under their protection. She is assured that he 
wishes to be honest, but she sees that he fears a charge of 
high treason. AU this must foster caution and care. 
They had yesterday three hundred horse, including Leth- 
mgton's ; for the honour of God, let her lord be accoro- 


panied with rather more than less ; and so she prays God 
that they may have a happy meeting. 

There remains yet one letter, perhaps the most remark- 
able of all for the passionate vehemence with which it 
expresses the miconditional surrender of the writer's heart, 
its utter hopeless captivity, its owner's abject resignation 
to the will and humour of the victor, mixed with faint but 
agonised wailings about the incompleteness of the return, 
the stint of that full flow of entire reciprocity which is 
now the breath of her life. There is now* no jealousy of 
another. There are no uncertainties or plans or diflficul- 
ties. It is fervid passion throughout, pressing forth with 
a vehemence that seems almost to choke the utterer. It 
is coloured throughout with extreme dejection and sad- 
ness, like a consciousness of the shadow of coming 

Of the tell-tale contents of the casket there still remain 
to be dealt with some verses called " The Sonnets." They 
are divided into sets of fourteen lines each ; but there is 
no separate unity of purpose in each of these sets, nor do 
they contain any other specialty of the sonnet proper, 
'^at she was acquainted with these specialties is shown 
by a real sonnet written after long imprisonment and 
affliction. It condenses into unity those solemn verses 
scattered through the ninth and tenth chapters of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews which speak of the old material 
sacrifices of slain animals as superseded by one atone- 
ment, which requires of mankind only the purifying quali- 
ties of faith and humility. It is dear that the casket 
sonnets have been a continuous poem, cut up by the 
translator or editor into pieces of the canonical length of 
the sonnet, but without entire success, since the whole 
was not divisible by fourteen, and the last of the sonnets 
contains only six lines. 

There is, in fact, a unity of purpose throughout the 
whole. It is a wild wailing of love, jealousy, and despair. 
She is withheld from the object of her frantic adoration 
by the double marriage — nay, worse, by his attachment 
to her rival. And what sacrifice does that rival make to 
be set beside all that sAe is prepared to lay down? If the 


Other gives love, she has love in return. She is protected 
by the respectable bond of matrimony. She has been a 
worldly gainer, for she has been elevated by the favour 
which the devotion of another has conferred on her hus- 
band. And that other — ^what is she not ready to sacrifice ? 
Rank and position ; but these are nothing. Her life, her 
fair fame, her infant child, her immortal soul — all will be 
thrown at his feet. 

There is no Latin translation of the sonnets ; and in 
their Scots and French guise they have little to adorn 
them but the sheer fervency of their passionateness.^ 
Brantome spoke of them as unworthy of her pen ; but 
there is scarcely any chance that he could have seen the 
contents of the casket, and a retranslation from Scots into 
French would be poor material for testing the merits of 
the original. Nor is it quite clear whether he is giving 
us his own opinion, or merely the result of conversation 
with others. French critics of the present day do not 
confirm the popular notion that Queen Mary was gifted 
with the genius of poetry. They even talk disrespectfully 
of those lines on the death of her husband which Bran- 
tome himself preserved and published as a testimony to 
her genius.^ French critics have gone farther of late, 
and deposed poor Mary from the poetical rank which she 
held as the reputed author of some pretty lines bidding 
adieu to her beloved France.^ 

' As printed in the Detection they are called " Certane Frenchc 
sonnettis writtin be the Queen of Scottis to Bothwel befoir hir mar- 
riage with him, and (as it is said) while hir husband levit, but cer- 
tainly befoir his divorce firom his wyfe, as the words themselfs shaw." 
— Forbes, ii. 115. 

' M. Chasles, in his ' Etudes sur W. Shakspeare, Marie Stuart, et 
L'Ar^tin ' — a curious conjunction — calls these lines '' rimes barbareSy'* 
and says, " L'expression en est dure et la pens^ vulgaire." — P. 23. 

s " Adieu, plaisant pays de France i 

O ma patrie, 

La plus ch^rie, 
Qui as nourri ma jeune enfance ! 
Adieu, France I adieu, nos beaux jours I 
La nef aui de|oint nos amours 
N*a eu de moi que la moititf 

Une parte te reste^ elle est tienne, 

Je la fie a ton amiti6 

Pour que de Pautre il te louvieBae.' 


There is still another piece of poetry — the admitted 
work of Queen Mary — ^with which the sonnets may be 
compared. When her councillor and ambassador, Bishop 
Leslie, was imprisoned in the Tower for his zeal in her 
cause, he wrote a book of meditations, which he sent to 
the queen. She was pleased with the gift, and comforted 
by its perusal ; and under this influence sent in return, in 
a poetical shape, her own meditations upon his.^ An 
effort, supposed to be longer and more ambitious, on 
* The Institution of a Prince,' has unfortunately been lost 
sight of.* 

There are two theories on which the guilty conclusion 
to which the casket documents point has been resisted 
with great perseverance and gallantry : the one is that, as 
we now see them, they have been tampered with ; the 
other, that they are forgeries from the beginning. 

All questions raised on the prior theory are at once 
settled by the fact that those to whom the letters were 
first shown drew conclusions from them as damnatory 

M. Philarete Chasles having started a doubt as to the reputed author- 
ship of these lineS) the question was taken up and hunted to its con- 
clusion by Foumier, and the result will be found in that amusing 
book, 'L'Esprit dans THistoire.' He proves that the lines were 
written in Queen MaiVs name by Meusnier de Querlon, and first 
published by him in 1765 in his ' Anthologie.' It gives a zest to his 
success to be able to quote from the pompous M. Dargaud, who, 
speaking of Mary and ner genius, sa3rs, '* Ces vers sont d^sormais 
inseparables de son nom." Querlon was accustomed to such tricks ; 
or, as Foumier says, " prenait volontiers plaisir k ces sortes de mysti- 
fications litt^raires." He published a little book called 'Les Inno- 
centes Impostures ;' but all his were by no means innocent He was 
the editor of one of the editions of the infamous book, ' Meursii 
Elegantiae Latinae Sermonis,' in which the foulest pruriences that the 
language could express were published as the production of a virtu- 
ous and distinguished scholar. 

^ ' Meditation fait par la Reyne d*Escoce, Dovairiire de France, 
recueillie d'un Livre des Consolations Divines, composes par 
I'Evesque de Ross ; ' Bannatyne Mbcellany, i. 343. 

• ** The queen, his majesty's mother, wrote a book of verses in 
French, of Ihe Institution of a Prince, all with her oune hand, 
wrought the cover of it with her needle, and is now of his majesty 
esteemed a most precious jewel." — Montague's "Preface to the Worlcs 
of King James. It is stated by the same author that Damley trans- 
lated Valerius Maximus. 


as any they can now suggest. Little more than a month 
after the documents were in possession of the confederates 
— on the 25th of July — ^Throckmorton, the English am- 
bassador, got sufficient information to write home that 
" they mean to charge her with the murder of her hus- 
band, whereof, they say, they have as apparent proof 
against her as may be, as well by the testimony of her 
own handwriting, whidi they have recovered, as also by 
sufficient witnesses."^ Farther still, Sir Ralph Sadler 
made what may be called z.prkcis of the significant portions 
of the documents. According to the natural practice on 
such occasions, he briefly sweeps over the tri^^ or indis- 
tinct passages, and dwells on those which convey signi- 
ficant conclusions, translating them at full length; and 
these translations echo the corresponding passages in 
the letters, as we now possess them, with decisive pre- 

The theory of an entire forgery seems not to have 
occurred to any of those friends or foes of the queen who 
saw the documents. In the Parliament held in December 
there were several of her partisans present, such as Huntly, 
Athole, Errol, Herries, and others ; but we have no hint 
an)n¥here that they stood up for her fame, or had anything 
to say, when, in the very body of an Act of Parliament, 
the nature of the documents and the guilty conclusion 
drawn fi-om them were set forth in the plainest and 
severest terms.* The theory of forgery, indeed, seems to 

1 Keith, 426. 

^ Sadler State Papers, ii. 337. Sadler, with his usual methodical- 
ness, divides his notes of the papers under three heads : i. "The 
special words in the Queen of Scotts' lettres, written with her oune 
hand to Botfawell, declaring the inordynate and filthie love betwixt 
hir and him." 2. " The spec3rall words in the said lettres declaring 
her hatred and detestacion of her husbanded' 3. "The specyaU 
words of the saide lettres touching and declaring Sie conspiracie of 
her husband's deth." 

• " Anent the Retention of our Sovreane Lord's Motheris Person " 
(Act 1567, c 19). Here the Parliament, among their reasons for 
their conduct towards her, say it is to be attributed to "her own 
de&ult, in sa far as be divers her privie letters written halely with her 
•tm hand, and send be her to James, sometime Earl of Bothwdl, 


have become prevalent only after any appeal to the ori- 
ginal writings, and to the recollection of the persons re- 
ferred to in them, had ceased to be practicable. And it 
is impossible not to connect the absence of contemporary 
impugnment with a notable peculiarity in the documents. 
They are so affluent in petty details about matters person- 
ally known to those who could have contradicted them 
if false, that the forger of them could only have scattered 
around him, in superfluous profusion, allusions that must 
have been traps for his own detection. 

Wherever any of these petty matters comes to the sur- 
face elsewhere, it is in a shape to confirm the accuracy 
of the mention made of them in these letters. For in- 
stance, take the " purpose of Heigate," referred to in the 
first letter. In no history, letter, or state paper of the day, 
is that matter referred to except one, and that is a con- 
fidential letter by the queen herself to Archbishop Beaton, 
in which she desires him to warn his servants not to prate 
on such matters, and refers, just as in the casket letter, to 
the story having been spoken of by Walker, a servant of 
Beaton's, and told to Lennox by the Laird of Minto.^ 
Again there is a reference in the same letter to a matter, 
the explanation of which has cast up only the other day. 
Among other inquiries which teased her, as showing that 
the sids. man knew more about her doings than she liked, 
was an inquiry whether she " had made her State." This 
State is now visible in the papers published by M. Teulet ; 
and a very important document it is, being a recasting of 
the pensions and salaries of officers chargeable on Mary's 
income as Queen-dowager of France. The sum total, of 
which it records the distribution, exceeds thirty thousand 
livres — ^an enormous sum in that day. The unseen exist- 
ence of this separate expenditure, and of the official per- 
sons to whom it passed, has caused occasional tripping 
among historians, who are at a loss to account for persons 
who, like Rizzio and his brother, are spoken of as holding 

chief executer of the said horrible murther, as well before the com 
mitting thereof as thereafter." — Act. ParL, iiL 2% 
^ Labanoff, i. 397. 


distinguished offices, while no trace of them in their official 
position can be found in the constitutional records of the 
country. The document is signed by the queen and her 
private secretary, Joseph Rizzio ; and its date, 13th Feb- 
ruary 1567, coincides with its being under consideration 
about the time of the momentous visit to Glasgow.^ 

It will not readily be admitted that any weight should 
be given to coincidences between the casket letters and 
the facts narrated in the dying confessions of the inferior 
persons executed for the murder. There was a person 
less open to suspicion, however, who was an eye and ear 
witness at some of the scenes described in these letters, 
and his testimony concerning them was recorded in a very 
peculiar manner. This was Thomas Craufurd of Jordan- 
hill, who was, as we have seen, present when Damley 
in his sick-bed received the memorable visit from his wife. 
It is stated, in the Journal of the commissioners who sat at 
York, that this man was brought to give evidence before 
them. It was found that the evidence he had to give was 
something much more clear and specific than any mere 
recollection of past events. He stated that old Lord 
Lennox, being afraid, as we have seen, to trust himself 
away from his own fortress and his own people, while he 
was in a state of great anxiety and suspicion about the 
object of the unexpected visit, had instructed Craufurd, 
who was nearly allied to the house of Lennox, carefully to 
note down all he saw or could learn of what went on. 
Craufurd said he not only set down in writing what he 
was witness to, but that the king was very communicative 

^ *Estat des gaiges des dames, damoiselles, gentilzhommes, et 
outres officiers domesticques de la Royne d'Escosse, Douairi^e de 
France ; ' Teulet (Svo), ii. 268. This document would be sent to 
France as a warrant for the respective payments announced by it By 
far the greater portion of the recipients are French ; and some who 
perhaps are not so are not easily recognisable as Scots — for instance, 
Ceton for Seton, and Letinthon for Lethington. The highest salary, 
however, goes to a Scot — Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, who gets 
3060 livres. It may be noted, for what it is worth, that Bothwell's 
name does not occur in this list of beneficiaries. The editor of Queen 
Mary's Inventories notices the identification of this document with the 
"State" mentioned in the casket letter. 


to him about the private interviews with the queen, at 
which no third person was present. According to the 
record of his testimony, he stated " that he did, imme- 
diately at the same time, write the same, word by word, 
as near as he possibly could carry the same away; and 
sure he was that the words now reported in his writing 
concerning the communication betwixt the Queen of Scots 
and him upon the way near Glasgow, are the very same 
words, on his conscience, that were spoken; and that 
others being reported to him by the king are the same in 
effect and substance as they were delivered by the king to 
him, though not, percase, in all parts the very words 
themselves." This document being read to the commis- 
sioners, Craufurd affirmed it, "upon his corporal oath 
there taken to be true." ^ 

It has often surprised me that, although casually re- 
ferred to as in existence, this paper should not have been 
printed among the documents, many of them less expres- 
sive, which have been heaped together in the collections 
regarding Queen Mary. It could not fail to be extremely 
instructive on the one side or on the other. Guided to its 
existence in the Record Office at the Rolls by the Calen- 
dars recently issued, an opportunity has been found of 
comparing it with the casket letter. 

Of the result I can only say that the two agree together 
with an overwhelming exactness.^ Of course every one is 

^ The Journal of the Commissioners, apud Westminster, die Jovis, 
none die Decembris r568 ; Anderson, iv. 169. 
' The following may suffice as a specimen :— 

Craufurd's Testimony. The Casket Letter. 

" She asked him of hys sicknesse ; "'Ze ask me quhat I mene be 

he aunswered, that she was the the crueltie contenit in mv letter; 

cause thereof. And moreover, he it is of zow alone, that wiu not ac- 

saide, ' Ye asked me what I ment cept my offeris and repentance. I 

bye the crueltye specified in mye confes that I have failit, bot not into 

lettres ; yat procedethe of yow that quhilk I ever denyit ; and sick- 

onelye, that wille not accepte mye lyke hes failit to sindrie of tour 

ofi&es and repentance. I confesse subjectis^ quhilk ze have forgevin. 

that I have failed in som thingis, I am soung. Ze wil say, that ze 

and yet greater faultes have bin have forgevin me oft ^rmes, and zit 

made to yow sundrye times, which yat I retume to my taultis. Met 


at liberty to maintain that Craufiird's statement is entirely 
false, and that it was got up to support a forgery. In such 
repudiations, as in the length to which St Denis could 
carry his head, the first step is everything. It might also 
be maintained that the memorandum of Craufurd being 
true, afforded the conspirators the materials firom which 
they could work up the details of their little picture of a 
domestic interior. Before adopting, however, any theory 

ye have foigiven. I am but yonge, not ane man of my age, for lacke of 

and ye will saye ye have forgivne counsell, fall twyse or thryse, or in 

roe diverse tymes. Maye not a man lacke of his promeis, and at last re- 

of mye age, for lacke of counselle, pent himself, and be chastisit be ex- 

of which I am verye destitute, falle perience f Gif I may obtane par- 

twise or thrise, and yet repent, and doun, I protest I sail never mak fault 

be chastised bye experience ? Gif I agane. And I craif na uther thing, 

have made anve faile that ye but bot yat we may be at bed and buinl 

thinke a faile, howe soever it be, I togidder as husband and wyfe ; and 

crave your pardone, and proteste gif ze will not consent heirunto, I 

that I shall never faile againe. I sail never ryse out of yis bed. I pray 

desire no other thinge but that we zow, tell me zourresolutioim. God 

maye be together as husband and knawishow I ampunischitformak- 

wife. And if ye will not consent ing my god of zow, and for having 

hereto, I desire never to rise forthe na uther thocht but on zow ; and 

of this bed. Therefore, I praye gif at ony tyme I offend zow, ze ar 

yow, give me an aunswer hereunto, the cans, becaus quhen ony offendis 

God knoMreth howe I am punished me, gif for my refuge I micht playne 

for making mye god of vow, and unto zow, I wald spdk it unto na 

for having no other thought but on uther body ; bot qimen I heir ony 

yow. And if at anie tyme I offend thing, not being familiar with zow, 

yow, ye are the cause ; for that necessitie constrains me to keip it in 

when aine offendethe me, if for my my breist, and yat causes me to 

refuge I might open mye minde to tyne my wit for verray anger.' 

yow, I wouldespeake tonoother; "I answerit ay unto him, bot 

but when anie thiz^ge is spoken to that wald be ovir lang to wryte at 

me, and ye and I notbeingeashus- lenth. I askit quhy he wald pas 

band and wife ought to be, necessite away in ye Inglis schip. He denyis 

compellethe me to kepe it in my it, and sweiris thairunto; bot he 

brest, and bringethe me in such me- grands that he spak with the men. 

lancolye as ye see me in.' Efter this I inquyrit him of the in- 

"She aunswered, that it semed quisitioun of Hiegait He denyit 

hym she was sorye for his sicknesse, the same, quhill I schew him the 

and she woulde nnde remedye ther- veiray wordis was spokin ; at quhilk 

fore so sone as she might. tyme he said that Mynto had ad- 

" She asked him whve he would vertisit him that it was said that 

have passed awaye in the Englishe sum of the Counsell had brocht ane 

shippe. letter to me to be subscrivit to put 

'*He aimswered, that he had him in presoun, and to slay him gif 

spoken with the Englishe man, but he maid resistence. And he askh 

not of minde to goeawaie with him; the same at Mynto himself; qoha 

and if he had, it had not bin without answerit, that he belevit ye samo to 


against the genuineness of this document, it would be weU 
for the enthusiast to weigh the possible influence of that 
darkly suggestive conversation between Damley and his 
kinsman, in which they exchange their suspicions about 
the unexpected visit — ^suspicions in which murder is an 

Such theories, and the impossibility of confuting them 
to the conviction of those who choose to maintain them, 
is one of the incidents of the rather forensic tone in which 
the great controversy about Queen Mary has been con- 
ducted. A leaf has been taken from the Old Bailey, and 
it has been maintained that she should be counted innocent 
until she is proved guilty. But in the legal sense this is 
impossible about long-past events. To comply with it, 

cause, consideringe howe he was be trew. The mome I wil speik to 
used. For he had neather to sus- him upon this point. As to the rest 
teine him sellfe nor hys servantes, of Willie Hiegait's he confessit it ; 
and neded not make farder leher- hot it was the mome efter my cum- 
SEUle thereof, seinge she knewe it as ming or he did it." 
well as he. 

' ' Then she asked him of the par- 
pose of He^te. He aunswered, it 
was tolde Imn. 

"She required howe and by 
whome it was tolde him. 

"He aimswered, that the L. of 
Minto tolde him that a lettre was 
presented to her in Cragmillar, 
made bye her owne divise and sub- 
scribed bye oertaine others, who 
desired her to subscrive the same, 
which she refused to doe ; and he said 
that he would never thinke that she, 
who was hys owne propper fleshe. 
would do him anie hurte; and iJf 
anie other woulde do it, theye should 
bye it dere, imlesse theye tooke him 
slepinge, albeit he su4)ected none. 
So he desired her efifectuouslye to 
beare him companye. For she ever 
founde som adoe to draw her sellfe 
from him to her owne lodginge, and 
would never abyde mih him paste 
two houres at once." 

^ See above, p. 184. Since this was written, the policy of the 
'* Vindicators " has declared itself. As if by a common understanding, 
they have found that the testimony of Craufiird is the text on whidi 
the letter was forged. 


we would require to place Craufurd in the witness-box, 
cross-question him, and search the world for testimony 
until we fill up all gaps and explain all inconsistencies. 
These things are the strong securities with which the law 
surrounds tiie rights of living men, especially their lives or 
their liberties. We all know multitudes of things which 
are not judicially proved, which we could not judicially 
prove ; yet the law requires that before we act on tliem, 
to the injury of our neighbour, they shall be so proved. 
If the life or liberty of a British subject could be made to 
depend either on proving Queen Mary guilty or proving 
her innocent, neither could be made out in such a mannei 
as to secure a verdict At the present day we have no 
evidence on which we could hang Felton, who stabbed the 
Duke of Buckingham in Charles I.'s time, or even the man 
who shot Spencer Perceval. It would be the same with the 
death of Caesar and the execution of Charles I. Such a way 
of going to work would blot out history, by making its parts 
extinguish each other, like the equivalents in an equation. 
If Queen Mary is entitled to the benefit of all doubts, the 
confederate lords who brought the charges and evidence 
against her are entitled to the benefit of all doubts to 
protect their character firom the stigma of conspiracy. It 
has been often pressed in this controversy that an accuser 
takes nothing by character. This too belongs to the 
courts of criminal justice as a constitutional protection of 
life and liberty, llib accuser is a law officer of the crown, 
a man of high social position and spotless integrity ; the 
accused is the hero of a hundred robberies, and has passed 
the greater part of his adult life in prison. Yet the ques- 
tion at issue must be determined by the strictest rules of 
evidence, and it is only in the weight of the punishment 
that character tells. But in coming to a mere opinion, we 
cannot help the solution of the question, whether, from 
antecedents and accompanying conditions, it is more likely 
that the accused had done something to justify the charge, 
than that those who made it had conspired to bring it 
home by mendacity and forgery. 

The judge may be bound to release the accused, al- 
though in his secret heart believing him to be guilty ; but 


in history belief is all, and belief cannot be resisted when 
it comes, nor can a leaning to the stronger probabilities 
where there is doubt, let the effect on the fame of some 
long-dead actor in the history of the world be what it will 
But while thus tenacious of the privileges of an accused 
person, these enthusiasts demand a conclusion from which 
such a person is excluded by the act of seeking their 
protection. The verdict of " not guilty " founded on im- 
perfection in the evidence, is no proclamation of innocence. 
Its tenor is generally more distinctly interpreted by an 
expressive form in use in Scotland. When the jury do 
not find reason to proclaim a case of calumniated inno- 
cence, but give the accused the benefit of defective 
evidence, they find a verdict of " not proven.'* It would 
perhaps surprise some enthusiasts of the present day to 
find contemporary vindicators going no further than the 
demand of a verdict of "not proven." Their reason was 
the same material one that influences modem trials. They 
maintained that there was no sufficient case made out for 
depriving the queen of her sovereignty and liberty. The 
evidence against her was not conclusive, and she should 
have had the benefit of the doubt Those who believe in 
her as a saint mart3rred by wicked men, would find dis- 
agreeable revelations in reading what is said by the early 
class of vindicators.^ 

^ Take, for instance, the following by the man who knew her best 
of all her supporters— Bi^op Leslie, in his ' Defence of the Honour 
of the Bight High and Noble Princess Marie, Queen of Scotland and 
Dowager of France/ printed in the name of 'Morgan Philips, 
Bachdor in Divinity:' **I would, then, farther demand of them 
what authority they had to summon and assemble a Parliament? 
And whether this fact of hers, supposing she were shown guilty, 
deserveth in her, being a prince, and considering how heinously the 
Lord Damley had offended her and the crown of Scotland, such 
extreme punishment to be levied upon her for one simple mnrther, 
especially by them that committed that shameful murther upon her 
secretary, that have committed so many treasons, and dail^ do commit 
so many horrible murthers upon the queen's true loving subjects ? How 
many, and how cruel and terrible deaths do such traitors deserve f 
We have, moreover, to demand of them, whereas they pretend a 
marvellous and a singular zeal to religion and holy Scripture, and to 
measure all their doings precisely by Scripture and order theivc^ 


Though this controversy has produced dazzling achieve- 
ments of ingenuity and sagacity, I would be inclined not 
so much to press technical points of evidence as to look 
to the general tone and character of the whole story. In 
this view, nothing appears to me more natural than the 
casket letters. They fit entirely into their place in the 
dark history of events. They are thoroughly characteristic 
of one who, inheriting the common blood of James IV., 
the Tudors, and the Guises, was trained at a Court 
where good faith, justice, and mercy were represented by 
Catherine of Medici, and the social morals were those of 
the * Dames Galantes ' of Brantome and the novels of 
Queen Marguerite. 

Suppose it to have been settled in conclave that such a 
set of letters were to be forged, who was there with the 
genius to accomplish the feat? Nowhere else, perhaps, 
has the conflict of the three passions, love, jealousy, and 
hatred, been so powerfully stamped in utterance. Some- 
what impoverished though it maybe in the echo of a 
foreign medium, we have here the reality of that which the 
masters of fiction have tried in all ages, with more or less 
success, to imitate. They have striven to strip great 
events of broad, vulgar, offensive qualities, and to excite 
sensations which approach to sympathy with human im- 
perfections. And, indeed, these letters stir firom their 
very foundation the sensations which tragic genius endea- 
vours to arouse. We cannot, in reading them, help a 
touch of sympathy, or it may be compassion, towards the 
gifted being driven in upon the torrent of relentless 
passions, even though the end to which she drifts is the 
breaking of the highest laws, human and divine. A touch 
of tenderness towards those illustrious persons who show 
their participation in the fiailty of our common nature by 
impeifections as transcendent as their capacities, is one 

what sufficient warrant they have therein, by their private authority, 
to lay violent hands upon their anointed prince ? I find there that 
King David was both an adulterer and also a murtherer. I find 
that God was highly di8i>leased with him therefor ; yet find I not 
that he was therefor by his subjects deposed." — Anderson's Collec- 
tion, i. 5^* 


of the mysterious qualities of the human heart, and here it 
has room for indulgence. In fact, it is the shade that gives 
impressiveness to tibe picture. With all her beauty and wit, 
her political ability and her countless fascinations, Mary, 
Queen of Scots, would not have occupied nearly the hadf 
of her present place in the interest of mankind had the 
episode of Bothwell not belonged to her story. 

The question. Who could have forged such documents ? 
receives in no quarter a distinct answer. In other in- 
stances of attempted identification, as of Eikon Basilik^, 
or the Letters of Junius, attempts have been made to 
bring the matter home by identifying specialties of style, 
method of handling, and turns of thought No one, how- 
ever, has tried to prove that these documents resemble 
any one's acknowledged writings. 

Buchanan is the person naturally hinted at as the 
author of the contents of the casket, having been the first 
to draw public attention to them. But if we suppose him 
morally capable of such an act, it is pretty clear that it 
did not come within his intellectual capacity, extensive as 
that was. The little domesticities in the letters would 
not suit the majestic march of his pen. In the Detection, 
to which he appended the documents, he shows that, had 
he prepared these himself, he would certainly have over- 
drawn them. In fact, in that philippic the great scholar 
and poet shows that, although he may have known politics 
on a large scale, he was not versed in the intricacies of 
the human heart Everything is with him utterly and 
palpably vile and degrading, without any redeeming or 
mitigating element. The love that, if wicked, yet takes 
the tone of feminine attachment and pure devotedness, 
becomes in his hand mere lust, breaking out in brutal and 
degrading acts. The flagrant proceedings of this guilty 
couple, and theu: pander the Lady Reres, a cast-off mis- 
tress of BothwelFs, sometimes even admit of ludicrous 
postures, which the author describes with sarcastic zest 
The quairels of the king and queen are like those that 
might pass between a passionate strolling actress and the 
good-for-nothing husband she has to support by her talents. 
She starves him and lets him go in rags, while the favourite 

VOL. IV. s 


fares sumptuously and is endowed with stately dresses and 
jewellery. She grudges him the charge of a physician in 
his sickness. She carries off his service of plate, and re- 
places it with pewter. A quantity of incredible charges 
are heaped up ; and among others, that she tempted her 
husband into acts of low profligacy, that she might get 
him divorced, " to make empty bedroom for BoSiwelL" 
She sleeps soundly with a satisfied mind, when she hears 
tiiat her husband is dead — she gloats over his dead body, 
unwilling to take her eyes from so delightfiil a sight — she 
insults it with the sordidness of the funeral appliances — 
her glee is irrepressible, and will not be controlled by any 
usages of Court etiquette or even common decorum. She 
lays plots to open a deadly feud between her husband 
and Murray, in the hope that one of them may fall — ^little 
matter whidi, it will be a hatred the less to her. And 
what was he for whom she sacrificed herself, body and 
soul ? He was not only polluted by the vilest crimes, 
but he had none of the external qualities with which bad 
men varnish their wickedness. He was hideously ugly, 
boorish in manner, a babbler in talk, and a coward in 
action. Where, then, was the attraction ? In the common 
degradation of the two — their cruelty, falsehood, and lust 
It is, perhaps, not the least incongruous feature of this 
picture, with its blacks and whites, that the victim stands, 
in contrast with his slayer, as endowed with constancy, 
truthfulness, and general goodness. 

But while those who have gone into the intricacies of 
the story cannot accept the conclusions of the Detection, 
they cannot read it without acknowledging that it is a 
great work of rhetorical art It bears up throughout the 
grand forms of ancient classical denunciation, rising, with 
blow after blow, up to the thundering dimax. It is for 
this reason that it is so extravagant. It was among the 
rhetoricians a tour de force, as the French say, to make 
the denunciation perfect — ^a total annihilation of a cause 
or a character ; and any ray of light or hope, any redeem- 
ing touch, was a defect, almost an infringement of the 
great principles of rhetoric 

Such a work, put forth in the common language of the 


learned by its greatest master, had immense influence over 
Europe. It was paralleled by a scarcely less remarkable 
translation for the benefit of the people of Scotland. 
This conveys a very distinct impression of the power of 
the old Scots tongue, and its capacity to march alongside 
of the language of Rome, preserving the same grand 
historic step. It will be found to differ much from Knox's 
style, though both wrote powerfully, and were adepts in 
denunciation. To say that Knox has a touch of vulgarity 
would not be correct; but he is more homely. He 
affected to write in the English of the day ; and though 
his style is abundantly rich, it wants a certain sinewy 
terseness which his friend and coadjutor finds in the old 
Scots tongue.^ 

With all its exaggerations and extravagancies, the 
Detection is the work of a man thoroughly sincere. 
Buchanan believed in the fiindamental fact of the guilt, 
and he brought out his belief in the fashion of his special 
accomplishments as a classical scholar, with due devotion 

^ '* Albeit thir thingis were thus done as I have declairit, pt thair 
ar sum that stick not to say that the quene was not onely hardly, but 
alswa cruelly delt with ; that efter sa detestabill ane fact, sche was 
removit from regiment ; and quhen they cannot deny the fact, they 
oomplane of the punischment. I do not think thair wil be any man 
sa schamdes to think that sa horribill ane fact aucht to have na 
punischment at all ; bot if thay complane of the grevousnes of the 
penaltie, I feir leist to all gude men we may seme not to have done 
sa gentilly and temperately as lously and negligently, that have laid 
sa licht ane pane upon ane offence sa haynous, and sic as was never 
hard of befoir. For quhat can be done cruelly aganis the author of 
sa outragious ane deid, quhairin all lawis of God and man ar violatit, 
despysit, and in maner hiaillely extinguischit ? Everie severall offence 
hes his punischment baith be God and man appointit. And as thair 
be certane degreis of evill deidis, sa ar thair also incressis in the 
quantiteis of punischmentis. If ane have slane a man, it is ane deid 
of itself verray haynous. Quhat if he have slane his familiar freind? 
Quhat if his father ? Quhat if in ane foull fact he had joynit all thir 
offencis togidder ? Surely of sic a ane nouther can his lyfe suffice 
for imposing, nor his body for beiring, nor the judge's policie for 
inventing, pane aneuch for him. Quhilk of thir faultis is now com- 
prysit in this offence? I omit the meane commoun materis — the 
murthering of ane young gentilman, ane innocent, hir countriman, 
hir kinnisman, hir familiar, and hir cousing-germane. Let us also 


to the method of the rhetoricians. There are accusationa 
in the Detection not to be believed, and yet the statement 
of them there is an important revelation. It gives us 
the popular feeling about Queen Mary. This feeling, of 
course, arose and had its diief seat among the populace 
of Edinburgh, before whom the tragedies of her reign 
had been acted. But it was a period of action and excite- 
ment, and whatever moved the centre was taken to the 
extremities of the country by the burgesses and lairds who 

excuse ye fact, if it be possibill sche unadvisidlv, ane young woman, 
angrie, offendit, and ane of greit innocencie of lyfe till this tyme, has 
slane ane lewd young man, ane adulterer, ane unkynde husband, and 
ane cnielle king. If not ony ane, bot all thir respectis togidder, wer 
in this mater, thay aucht not to availe to schift of all punischment, 
bot to rais sum pietie of the cace. Bot quhat say ye, that nain of 
thir thingis can sa mekle as be falsly pretendit ? The faat itself, of 
itself is odious in ane woman ; it is monstrous in ane wyfe, not onely 
excessively luifit, bot also maist zealously honourit — it is incredibilL 
And being committit aganis him (^uhais age craifit jMundone, qnhais 
hartly affectioun requyrit lufe, quhais neimes of kyn askit reverence, 

?uhBis innocencie midit have deservit favour — ^upon that young man, 
say, in quhome thair is not sa mekle as alledgeit ony just cans of 
offence thus to execute and spend, yea, to exceid all tormentis dew to 
all offends, in quhat degre of crudLtie sail we accompt it ? Bot let 
thir thingis availl in uther personnis to rais haitrent, to bring punisch- 
ment, and to mak exempiilis to posteritie. Bot in this cace let us 
beir mekle with hir youth, mekle with hir nobiHtie, mekle with the 
name of ane prince. As for myne awinpart, I am not ane that think 
it alway gude to use extreme straitnes of law — na, not in private, 
meane, and commoun personnis. Bot in ane maist haynous misdeid, 
to dissolve all force of law, and quhair is na measure of ill-doing, 
thair to discend beneth all measure in punisching, wer the way to the 
undoing of aU lawis, and the overthraw of all humane societie. Bot 
in this ane horribiU act is sic ane hotch-potch of all abhominabil 
doingis, sic ane egemes of all outragious crueltie, sic ane forgetful- 
ness of all naturall affectioun, as nathing mair can be fengeit or 
imaginit." — Anderson's Collection, ii. Sy&, 

This is the work of a mind saturated with the spirit which comes 
to its perfection in the oration against Verres : " Quod si hsec non 
ad cives Romanes, non ad aliquos amicos nostrse dvitatis, non ad eos 
qui populi Romani nomen audissent ; denique si non ad homines 
verum ad bestias ; aut etiam ut longius progrediar, si in aliqua 
desertissima solitudine, ad saxa et ad scopulos hsec conquer! et depio- 
rare vellem, tamen omnia muta atqua inanima, tanta et tarn indigna 
rerum atrocitate commoverentur." 


attended the Estates, and the clergy and lay members of 
the Assembly. It is its foundation on popular feeling that 
gives the Detection its tone of vehemence and confidence. 
The declaimer will not be at the trouble of going into 
the evidence ; the thing is notorious, the public voice is 
mied with it 

The fallaciousness of such a test is proverbial. The 
atmosphere of public rumour that surrounds any marvel 
is sure to exaggerate and distort it But the existence of 
that atmosphere is in itself an important psychological 
phenomenon; and of such a phenomenon we have a vivid 
picture in the Detection. It is a truer echo of public 
opinion than we can find in Knox, because it is the echo 
of reaction. To Elnox she was a Popish Jezebel from 
the beginning. But Buchanan, though a zealous Protest- 
ant, had a good deal of the catholic and sceptical spirit 
of £rasmus, and an admiring eye for everything that was 
great and beautiful. Like the rest of his countrymen, he 
bowed himself in presence of the lustre that surrounded 
the early career of his mistress. More than once he 
expressed his pride and reverence in the inspiration of 
a genius deemed by his learned contemporaries to be 
worthy of the theme. There is not, perhaps, to be found 
elsewhere in literature so solemn a memorial of ship- 
wrecked hopes, of a sunny opening and a stormy end, as 
one finds in turning the leaves of the volume which con- 
tains the beautiful epigram ' Nympha Caledonian ' in one 
part, the 'Detectio Maris Reginae' in another; and this 
contrast is no doubt a faithful parallel of the reaction in 
the popular mind. This reaction seems to have been 
general, and not limited to the Protestant party ; for the 
conditions under which it became almost a part of the 
creed of the Church of Rome to believe in her innocence 
had not arisen. 

To come back to the contents of the casket, which were 
first made public along with the Detection. The question 
of their genuineness is surrounded by doubts and dis- 
putes ; but about another matter there can be no doubt 
— ^namely, that the party in power resolved to treat them 
as genuine, and steer their policy accordingly. She was 


to be dealt with as a murderess. Whatever demands 
might be made on her were to be backed by the prospect 
of a public trial and the block. It was a tacit foreshadow 
of strong measures that both the English ambassador and 
a special envoy from the Court of France were refused 
access to the queen. If she was still queen, this was a 
deadly affiront to two great powers, and there could be 
no way out of the difficulty but a dethronement. 

The secret counsels of the confederates were not long 
of coming out in action. On the 23d of July the Lord 
Lindsay and Robert Melville set off on a memorable mis- 
sion to Lochleven. They presented to the queen two 
documents, which she must sign : the one a renunciation 
of her crown in favour of her son ; the other, an appoint- 
ment of Murray to the office of regent during the dbild's 
minority. Several stories got afloat about what passed at 
this interview. It was said that Melville, who had a pre- 
liminary private interview with her, carried, concealed in 
the sheath of his sword, a letter from a friend, recom- 
mending her to consent to everjrthing, as all she did while 
under restraint might be revoked. Another accoimt says 
that Lindsay, provoked by her obstinacy, lost his temper 
and used violence. But Mary's was not the spirit to be 
broken by brute force. The influence that made her sign 
the deeds must have been crushing indeed. There is no 
doubt that the tenor of the casket letters was brought 
before her ; indeed the first rumour of their existence was 
in a letter written two' days afterwards by Throckmorton, 
stating that the confederates boasted of possessing sure 
evidence of her guilt At all events the deeds were 
signed. Of course documents of so much moment were 
drawn up in the perfection of formality. They do not 
contain a hint of guilt or a reference to BothwelL Any 
one alighting on them as they are recorded in the statute- 
book, without any explanation from the events of the 
age, might take them for the voluntary utterance of one 
weary of the cares of a throne, going like the Emperoi 
Charles V. to seek consolation in the calm of monastic 
life. She declares the act to be done of her own free will; 
and of her motive to it, that, " after long, great, and in- 

THE ABDICATION, 1567. 279 

tolerable pains and labours taken by us since our arrival 
within our realm for government thereof, and keeping of 
the lieges of the same in quietness, we have not only been 
vexed in our spirit, body, and senses thereby, but also at 
length are altogether so wearied thereof that our ability 
and strength of body is not able to endure the same." 
The deed of demission appointed, as a commission of 
regency in Murray's absence, the head of the house of 
Hamilton, Lennox, Argyle, Athole, Morton, Glencaim, 
and Mar. The affixing of the privy seal was wanted for 
these documents, but the keeper refused so to use it 
This little difficulty was got over by Lindsay, who took 
it from him by force. The documents were ratified in 
Parliament, with a declaration that the prince's title was 
as effectual as if his mother, at the time of his coronation, 
'^ had been departed out of this mortal life." 

From the date of these documents Mary Stewart ceases 
to appear as sovereign in the public proceedings of the 
realm, and the reign of King James YI. begins. 





The confederates having disposed of their troublesome 
and dangerous mistress somewhat to their satisfaction, 
the more active spirits among them set to the task of 
organising a working government There had been a 
great revolution in the state of Scotland. Those who 
have noticed in history the influence on the popular mind 
of such convulsive changes cannot look into tiie conditions 
attending Queen Mary's abdication without feeling them 
to be exceptional in the remarkable calmness of the 
people, and the precision of action in those who took the 
lead. All the arrangements were well adapted to baffle 
any bold ambitious man who might attempt to break in 
on the plans of the leaders and establish a separate in- 
terest. The abdication of the queen was carefully worded, 
so as to be nothing unless it transferred the crown to hex 


son. It was not called an abdication, but a transfer, 
merely bearing that " we have demitted and renounced 
the office of government of this our realm and lieges 
thereof, in favours of our only most dear son, native 
prince of this our realm." The infant, fourteen months 
old, could neither reject nor modify this adjustment, nor 
could others do so in his name. The " letter of demis- 
sion,'' as it was termed, makes provision for a regency 
during the minority of the king. The regent is to be 
" our dearest brother, James, Eaxl of Murray." As he is 
furth of the kingdom, however, a provisional regency is 
established to act in his absence. It is to consist of 
Hamilton and his heir, Lennox, and several other mag- 
nates. This nomination is followed by a provision of 
more importance. In case Murray, on his return to Scot- 
land, " refuse to accept the said office of regentrie upon 
his singular person," then he is to be one of a collective 
regency, consisting otherwise of the temporary regents. 
This document, and the character of the transactions con- 
nected with it, give the impression that Murray had done 
nothing to entide his friends to count on his acceptance 
of the chief power. 

When those concerned in the new arrangements esti- 
mated the difficulties in their way, they thought the most 
formidable of these likely to arise in the claims of the 
house of Hamilton. That family could not forget that 
now only an infant stood between them and the throne. 
The selection of Murray as the chief ruler of the country 
was ominous to them. The distance between legitimacy 
and illegitimacy had widened since the days when the 
legitimacy of Robert III. was questioned and left im- 
settled; but statesmanship had not, like the civil law, 
established that a bastard was counted the child of no 

In most of the Courts of Europe the illegitimate family 
took rank immediately after the legitimate, and at almost 
every great Court there was a prince called the Bastard. 
Not long time had elapsed since one of this class nearly 
made himself King of Spain. More astounding things 
than the seizure of royal power had been accomplished by 


clever, courageous, and unscrupulous men with Murray's 
opportunities ; and Murray was both clever and courage- 
ous, whatever may be said about his scrupulosity. His 
very call to the regency was an admission of hereditary 
claim : it would not have been given had he been a 
private peer unallied to the royal house. Had either of 
the Hamiltons, the father or the son, been a man of 
Murray's capacity, he would have taken the regency, if 
not something more ; but the only member of the house 
capable of strong action was the archbishop, and late 
events had made his influence far less than it was when 
he sneered at his brother for letting an infant live between 
him and the throne. 

It was observed that there was an assemblage of rela- 
tions and retainers of the house at Hamilton Palace. Sir 
Robert Melville, who was sent to them as a sort of ambas- 
sador, was courteously received, and returned with the 
assurance that they had no intention to interfere with the 
dominant party. They made themselves conspicuous by 
their absence from the coming ceremony ; but they took 
no ostensible action farther than to tender a protest that 
nothing done towards the reconstruction of a government 
should stand to the prejudice of their hereditary claims. 
For some weeks there had been in existence a band or 
bond for the release of the queen and the re-establish- 
ment of her government The Hamiltons were understood 
to be the promoters of this project, and afterwards they 
became conspicuous as the leaders of " the queen's party." 
As we shall afterwards find, however, the Hamilton branch 
of this party lay under the accusation of secretly working 
for her deadi. 

Mary's abdication or demission was signed, as we have 
seen, on the 24th of July. Next day a body of the party 
in power bound themsdves to common action and sup- 
Ijort by " a band." On the 28th they assembled at Stir- 
ling, where the infant prince was guarded. Next day he 
was solemnly crowned as king. Whether as a ceremonial, 
or because there was real danger of a forcible interruption 
to the business of the day, the garrison of the castle was 
on the alert, and the artillery ready for use. 


The ceremony was enacted in the beautiful parish 
church perched on the castle rock and close to the out- 
works. Though the Reformation had utterly changed the 
sovereign's obligations in matters ecclesiastical, yet the 
infant was not to be invested with monarchical power 
without the proper obligation for its due performance. 
An oath was framed for the occasion. It was taken by 
the Earl of Morton, as sponsor for the infant, '^ inclining 
his body and laying his hand on the book of God." This 
oath is a remarkable document, and deserves to be set 
forth at length. It is as follows : — 

"I, James, Prince and Stewart of Scotland, promise 
faithfully, in the presence of the Eternal, my God, that I, 
enduring the whole course of my life, shall serve the same 
Eternal, my God, to the uttermost of my power, according 
as He required in His most Holy Word, revealed and 
contained in the New and Old Testaments ; and, accord- 
ing to the same Word, shall maintain the true religion of 
Jesus Christ, the preaching of His Holy Word, and due 
and right ministration of His sacraments, now received 
and practised within this realm, and shall abolish and gain- 
stand all false religion contrary to the same, and shall rule 
the people committed to my charge according to the will 
and command of God revealed in His aforesaid Word, and 
according to the lovable laws and constitutions received 
in this realm, no ways repugnant to the said Word of the 
Eternal, my God, and shall procure to my uttermost, to 
the Kirk of God and whole Christian people, true and 
perfect peace in all times coming. The rights and rents, 
with all just privileges, of the crown of Scotland, I shall 
preserve and keep inviolate, neither shall I transfer nor 
alienate the same. I shall forbid and repress, in all estates 
and all degrees, reiff, oppression, and all kind of wrong. 
In all judgments I shall command and procure that justice 
and equity be kept to all creatures, without exception, as 
He be merciful to me and you — that is, the Lord and 
Father of all mercies ; and out of all my lands and empire 
I shall be careful to root out all heretics and enemies to 
the true worship of God that shall be convicted by the 
true Kirk of God of the foresaid crimes. And these 


things above written I faithfully affirm by my solemn 

Thereafter the infant's head was placed inside the crown 
which Bruce had worn, and his right hand was made to 
touch the sword and sceptre, in so fer that it could be re- 
corded how the representatives of the Estates " deliverit 
in his hands the sword and sceptre, and put the crown, 
royal upon his head, with all due reverence, ceremonies, 
and circumstances requisite and accustomed, and gave 
their ayths for due and lawful homage and obedience to 
be made by them to him in all times coming, as becomes 
subjects to their native king and prince.'' It is said that 
there was some difficulty on the question of the anointing, 
as a superstitious ceremony, Jewish in its origin and Popish 
in its later practice. We have seen how this rite was con- 
ceded to Scotland by the Papal Court as a privilege, 
raising the rank of the kingdom among the Christian mon- 
archies.' Such an origin did not commend the institution 
to the predominant Protestants. It was not prudent, how- 
ever, on such an occasion, to omit any solemnity that 
might tend to give effectiveness to the coronation. The 
ceremony of anointing was performed by Adam Bothwell, 
Bishop of Orkney, the same who had married the queen 
to her last husband. John Knox, who among contem- 
porary chroniclers is spoken of as objecting to the anoint- 
ing, was a prominent party to the coronation. The as- 
semblage was not properly a Parliament or meeting of the 
Estates. Yet there were present members of all the 
secular elements of the Parliament — ^the nobles, the barons, 
and the burgesses ; and the names of the persons who re- 
presented these orders are recorded. The representation 
of the ecclesiastical order is curiously equivocal. The 
only purely spiritual title in the minute is that of the 
Bishop of Orkney. There are several '* Commendators " 
of great religious houses; but these were only the persons 
who had got hold of their domains or revenues. At the con- 
clusion of the record of the proceedings is announced, as 
an important party to them, one who is not named as among 

^ Anderson's Collectioii, ii. 247, 24S. ' C3iap. jzv. 


those present — John Knox. By an ancient practice of the 
Imperial notarial, the persons interested in the proceed- 
ings of collective bodies might require them to be officially 
certified or recorded by responsible recorders ; and this 
right came to be called the asking of " acts," or of " in- 
struments," or of " documents." We shall find this practice 
rife when we come to the days of the Covenant So in the 
record of the coronation of the infant we find that " the 
said Sir John Bellenden, Justice-Clerk, in name of the said 
Estates, and also John Knox, minister, and Robert Camp- 
bell of Kinzean Cleuch, asked acts, instruments, and 
documents." There seems to have been thus far on the 
record an acknowledgment of the influence of the leader 
as representing the new Church, though he was not a 
member of the Estates, and had no legitimate place among 
the constituted powers. He preached a sermon on the 
occasion in the church of Stirling. 

The ceremony having been completed, the honours of 
the realm, as the crown, the sceptre, and the other symbols 
of royalty were called, were each separately conveyed back 
to the castle by one of the great nobles in attendance. It 
fell to the lot of Mar to bear in his arms the infant king, as 
entire a mute emblem of the power of those who handled 
him as the inanimate symbols carried by the others. 

Before dispersing, the assemblage uttered a proclama- 
tion, requiring it to be read at the market-cross of every 
burgh, in order that all men might know under whose 
authority they now lived. It bore as preamble how " it 
has pleased Almighty God to call the king's majesty, our 
sovereign lord, unto the royal crown and government of 
this realm by demission of the queen his mother;" and 
then states how ''his highness is crowned, inaugurate, and 
established in this kingdom in the presence of the nobility 
and Estates convened for execution and accomplishment 
of the queen's will and commission foresaid." ^ 

There still remained the momentous question, Would 
Murray accept of that regency offered to him in form by 

^ The Privy Council record of the proceedings will be found printed 
in Anderscm's Collection, ii. 242 et uq. 


his sister, and in reality by the predominant party in the 
Estates ? It was ever his policy to keep at a distance 
when he saw the storm gathering. Some attribute this to 
timidity or caution, and even maintain that he kept away 
from the political explosion after laying and lighting the 
train. Others have it that, knowing how impossible it 
was to influence his countr3nnen to good and orderly ends 
when their blood was up, he kept away from scenes of 
tumult and bloodshed, which vexed his righteous soul, and 
taught him to despise his brethren of the Scots aristoc- 
racy as a band of ferocious barbarians.^ However it was, 
he had now been four months absent, and was abiding m 
France until he was sent for. When informed of the offer 
made to him, he made no sign, but gravely and in a 
leisurely fashion turned his steps homewards. Whether 
on good ground or not, he was afraid of detention in 
France, if not of worse, and escaped secretly. He passed 
through England, whether as the safest route, or that he 
might gather on the way instruction for his guidance. He 
was well received at Court and elsewhere. Whatever he 
may have learned from others, however, it is clear that he 
kept his own counsel. Had he in any way committed 
himself, the fact must have come forth in the acrimonious 
disputes of the time. He passed through Berwick, and as 
he entered Scotland he was welcomed by a procession of 
four hundred mounted gentlemen. He arrived at Edin- 
burgh on the nth of August, and was there received with 
high applause. Still he kept silence until he had an in- 
terview with his sister. 

On the 15th he appeared at Lochleven accompanied by 
Morton and Athole. Their reception was like many others 
in which Queen Mary figures — at one time storm and tears, 
at another all sunshine. She had long conversations with 
Murray alone. As to what passed at these meetings of 

* On the 1 2th of August we find Throckmorton telling Cecil : ** To 
speak more plainly to you than I will do otherwise, metfainketh the 
Earl of Murray will run the course that those men do, and be par- 
taker of their fortune. I hear no man speak more bitterly against the 
tragedy and the players therein than he, so little liking he hath to 
horrible sins." — Wnght's Queen Elizabeth, i. 264. 

MURRAY, 1567. 287 

brother and sister, amid conditions so strange and tragic, 
there has been much ardent curiosity but imperfectly satis- 
fied, and a consequent world of conjecture. From her we 
have no revelation ; but what Murray chose to say of the 
meeting was carefully treasured up by the English resi- 
dent Throckmorton, and repeated to his mistress Eliza- 
beth. This precise observer tells that on the 19th of 
August he desired to have a conversation with Murray 
and Lethington " quietly." Mmray was unwell or indis- 
posed for prompt conversation, but sent to say that he 
would call on Throckmorton next day. He had made 
up his mind for a revelation, and bluntly said, " My lord 
ambassador, whether will you that I should make decla- 
ration to you of my doings at Lochleven, or have you 
anything to say to me ? " The other " required him to 
" declare his proceedings with the queen his sister, and 
how they had agreed." Murray's story can only be ren- 
dered in his own words as his companion reported them: — 

" At the Earls of Murray, Athole, and Morton's arrival 
at Lochleven, they went immediately to the queen, who 
had conference with them all together ; notwithstanding 
the queen broke forth with great passion and weeping, re- 
tiring the Earl of Murray apart, who had with her long 
talk in the hearing of no person. That talk, as I do learn 
(which continued two hours imtil supper-time), was nothing 
pleasant to the queen, and chiefly for that the Earl of 
Murray talked no&ing so frankly with her as she desired, 
but used covert speech, and such as she judged he would 
not discover neither the good nor the ill he had con- 
ceived of her, nor meant unto her. After supper she de- 
sired to talk with the Earl of Murray again ; and every- 
body being retired, they conferred together until one of 
the clock after midnight : in which second communication 
the said earl did plainly, without disguising, discover unto 
the queen all his opinion of her misgovemment, and laid 
before her all such disorders as either might touch her 
conscience, her honour, or surety. 

" I do hear that he behaved himself rather like a ghostly 
father unto her than like a counsellor. Sometimes the 
queen wept bitterly, sometimes she acknowledged her un- 


avisedness and misgovemroent ; some things she did con- 
fess plainly, some things she did excuse, some things she 
did extenuate. In conclusion, the Earl of Murray left 
her that night in hope of nothing but of God's mercy, 
willing her to seek that as her chiefest refuge. And so 
they parted. 

"'The next morning betime she desired to speak with 
her brother ; he repaired unto her. They began where 
they left overnight, and after those his reprehensions, he 
used some words of consolation unto her, tending to this 
end, that he would assure her of her life, and, as much as 
lay in him, the preservation of her honour. As for her 
liberty, it lay not in his power ; neither was it good for 
her to seek it, nor presently for her to have it, for many 

" Whereupon she took him in her arms and kissed him, 
and showed herself very well satisfied, requiring him in 
any ways not to refuse the regency of the realm, but to 
accept it at her desire. ' For by this means,' said she, 
' my son shall be preserved, my realm well governed, and 
I in safety, and in towardness to enjoy more safety and 
liberty that way than I can any other.* Whereupon the 
earl declared many reasons why he should refuse it The 
queen again replied with earnest intercession, and prayed 
him to prefer her reasons and requests before his own, 
which were particular. At length he accorded imto her 
the acceptation of the regency. 

" Then the queen required him to leave no means un- 
done to bring all the forts of the realm into his own dis- 
posing, and likewise to take her jewels, and things of value 
which were hers, into his custody, offering unto the said 
earl her writings, the use of her name and auth(>rity, to 
bring all these things to pass. He showed himself very 
unwilling to have the custody of her jewels. Then the 
Earl of Murray requiring the Lords Lindsay, Ruthven, and 
Lochleven to treat the queen with gentleness, with liberty, 
and all other good usage, he took his leave of her ; and 
then began a new fit of weeping, which being appeased, 
she embraced him very lovingly, kissed him, and sent her 
blessing unto the prince her son by him." 

MURRAY, 1567. 289 

On being qi^estioned a^d pressed, Murray made some 
further a4mission,s. These are more significant .by the 
dpubts they leave thai^ the revelations they convey. The 
Englishman wa^ desirous to know if anything was said 
about the p^sonal s^ety or danger of the captive, ai^d if 
so, to know what tone Murray had taken. The result 
w^-s that " he treated with her of that matter with this 
caution, that for his own part, accordii^g to his n^any obli- 
gations, he had a desire to spend his qwn life to save her 
life, and would employ all that was in him for that pur- 
pose; but it wa^ not in his power onfy, the lords and 
others haying interest in, the matter." He then warned 
her of the classes of actions that might bring her into 
peril, such as pra^tipes tq disturb the qiiiet ot the realm 
and the reign qf her son ; projects to escape ; exciting 
the people to be troublesome ; courting foreign aid from 
England or France ; and lastly, persisting in her "immod- 
erate affection with the Earl of Bothwell/* With a like 
precise analysis he showed the prudent course wherein 
her safety lay. 

Many people, of course, will decline to take Murray^s 
word for his own conduct ou the occasion; but it is 
noticeable that ThrqckiiiortQn seems to have felt content 
with the statement as sufficient When the guests left 
Lpchleven their captive had brought herself to her usual 
sierene a^d genial deportments^ 

On the 2 2d of August Murray ^as SQ^emnly inaugurated 

^ Keith, iL 736-738. If it be asked whether there is any account of 
this interview on Queen Mary's side which may be conipai?ed with 
Karray's, it may bci answered that, literally speaki^, there is a^ ac- 
count on her side, but it is so brief as to afibrd no data for a cpmpari- 
spi^. It is simply said on her part that he went to ask her permission 
to accept of the regency, and when she pointed out that it was his 
duty to decMne the offer, he said he had already comipitted himself: 
" S'appercevant que sa majesty texidoit k ly^jf persuader de ne rpce- 
vqir la r^ence, et q'elle avoit encore quelque nance en luy, estimant 
au*il se monstreroit envers elle tel q'il devoit pour avoir cest honneur 
aestre estini^ luy appartenir comme fr^re bastard, il meit bas le 
masque, r^plicquant que desjii U avoit accept^ la charge, et qu'il 
n'estoit plus temps de s'en excuser." — Memoir addressed in the name 
of Queen Mary to all Christian princes ; Teulet (4to edition), ii. 246. 


as regent in the Tolbooth of fidinbuigh, with a repetition 
of the various documents ahready before us, cumbering 
the march of events with heavy formalities. As recorded 
by the Council, all occurred in the presence of '* the Lords 
of the Secret Council, nobility, spirituality, commissioners 
of burghs, and barons."^ 

Among the regent's earliest acts one showed that hd 
would rule with a firm hand. This was the removal of 
the command of Edinburgh Castle from Balfour. In his 
eventful tenure of that post he had been faithless to his 
master, Bothwell, and had done something to help the 
new ascendancy ; but Murray did not deem him a man 
to be safely trusted with power. There was a hold over 
him in the part he had been known to take in the murder 
of Damley. He stipulated for certain conditions. Fore- 
most among these was an anmesty firom trouble about that 
affair. He was still strong enough, too, to hold the Priory 
of Pittenweem, and other goodly morsels of ecclesiastical 
property which had fallen to his share in the general 
scramble. One of his conditions not to be easily ac- 
counted for was followed by disasters to him who ap- 
peared to gain by it — ^he baigained that he was to be 
succeeded in his command by Kirkcaldy of Grange. 

On the 15th of December a Parliament assembled under 
the regent's summons. Its chief work was to strengthen 
things already done. It ratified the various steps of the 
great revolution which had just passed over the land. It 
will be remembered that the group of Acts passed in 1560, 
for abolishing Popery and establishing a Protestant Church, 
had been passed at a Convention of the Estates not as- 
sembled by royal authority. It will be remembered, also, 
how dexterously Queen Mary evaded all attempts to get 
her to ratify or acknowledge these Acts, and how she left 
it an open question, whether, on the one hand, they did 
not require the royal assent or were, on the other, mere 
waste paper, as being without it. Though it was a preva- 
lent doctrine held by Buchanan and many others, that 
Acts of the Estates were valid without the royal assent^ 

* Anderson, ii. 252 


and that the ceremony of touching with the sceptre was a 
mere act of courtesy, showing a harmony of action be- 
tween the Crown and the Estates, yet an opportunity was 
taken for ratifying the Acts in this Parliament Some 
other business was transacted in reference to the Church, 
to be noticed farther on in connection with ecclesiastical 
afiairs. Before the Estates separated, Huntly, Argyle, 
and Herries protested for an amnesty for all political acts 
done by them since the loth of June. The amnesty was 
granted, and made general to all who would agree to con- 
form with the new organisation. 

Let us now go back and note how the neighbouring 
powers chiefly concerned with Scotland looked on this 
revolution as it passed before them. We have seen that 
an ambassador from France, M. Villeroy, commissioned 
to the queen alone, was not permitted to see her. He re- 
turned home a few days after the refusal. Next came 
from France M. Lignerolles with a wider mission. He 
was apparently an easy courteous man, disturbed in equa- 
nimity by the violent self-willed men among whom he 
found himself, but anxious to see peace kept and dignities 
respected. His mission was one of sadness rather than 
of wrath. Things were done before his eyes utterly be- 
yond the scheme of his philosophy as the servant of a 
despotic Court, but he could do nothing save persuade 
and soothe. If his Court had sometimes assumed towards 
Scotland a mixed tone of patronage and dictation, this 
arose from a natural yielding to the tenor of events, which 
seemed to be bringing the distant barbarous country under 
the banner of France to become a useful dependency. 
Wlien the French found Scotland angry and suspicious, 
they ceased to trouble themselves in pressing any projects 
that were found disagreeable there The French sugges- 
tions seem to have been met with a courteous equanimity, 
an echo, perhaps, of the tone in which they were made. 
This matter was reported by Throckmorton to his mistress 
in a letter dated two days before Murray's inauguration as 
regent What he tells about the answer given to the am- 
bassador is told briefly, yet so distinctly that nothing of 
moment seems to be omitted. We thus find in it at once 


all that was asked by the French ambassador, and the 
answer made to each request, thus : — 

"That the said lords did again render their humble 
thanks to the king, and queen his mother, for this demon- 
stration of their favour, which the said king axid queen 
had showed by sending him hither, and to treat with them 
so amicably. And where they had, by his long discourse 
at his first audience, comprehended the sum of his whole 
negotiation into four points, they were now to answer to 
every of them as had been resolved among all the lords 
and others of the king's Council. 

" To the\firsfy which tended to the union of all the 
nobility of this reaJm, they thanked the king humbly for 
his care in that matter ; but there was no such dissension 
amongst them, thanks be to God, diat they needed any 

" To the saxmd, for the care the king had to their surety, 
which he willed them to provide for, and therein offered 
them his assistance, they did humbly thank the king also 
for his gracious disposition towards them ; but, God be 
thanked, they took themselves to be in as great smrety ais 
any men were or could be widiin this realm. 

" To the tAirdf concerning the queen's liberty, and his 
access to her, they had made an assertion amongst them- 
selves, that no prince's ambassador nor stranger should 
speak with her until the Earl of Bothwell were appre- 
hended, which th^ hoped should not be loi^ to, for they 
had given order for his apprehension; and that tHucL 
served for answer to refuse him access unto the queen 
must also serve for ans^ii^er concerning her enlargement 

'^To theJintfiA and /asf, concerning his access to the 
Hamiltons, and conference with them, they could not 
allow nor permit any prince's ambassadiv or mfimster to re- 
pair unto them or to treat with them. Well contented they 
were that Mons. de Lynerol should send unto them anjr' 
gentleman he had, or write unto them, or otherwise to> 
confer with them at his pleasure, if the said Hamiltons 
would repair to this town; otherwise they could not 
accord any other mean of negotiation for any prince's 


ambassador with any subject of this realm, lest thereby 
they should derogate from themselves the aiithority which 
was given them by the queen their sovereign, in name of 
the king her son, for the government of this realm, and so 
give occasion thereby, as well to strangers as to the sub- 
jects of the realm, to think that there were as well two 
sundry States as two sundry authorities." ^ 

The English ambassador, who is presently to appear on 
the stage, had misgivings about French intervention being 
more acceptable than English. There had been some 
boastful outbreaks at the Court of France, the king him- 
self, " on the word of a prince," avowing that he would 
fight his sister's battle, and punish Queen Elizabeth for 
connivance with the rebels. But Queen Mary had in 
Catherine of Medici a potent enemy at tiiat Court — an 
enemy who had no scruples about the divinity of royalty, 
or any other divinity, when she saw the means of injuring 
the woman she hated.^ The political conditions in Friance, 
too, made difficulties. It could only be a Popish armj 
that could aid the queen against her Protestant armies ; 
yet had the Government of France required to trim so far 
as to send a Huguenot as their ambassador to Scotland, 
that he might be in some measure acceptable to the party 
in power. In fact it was likely that if a Popish army 
crossed over to Scodand, a Huguenot army would follow, 
and fight in Scotland the great quarrel that was desolating 

Fpom the general tenor of what he saw and heard, the 
English ambassador seencis to have satisfied himself that, 
as matters stood, France would do nothing for Queen 
Mary; and his explanation is of all the more historic 
value that it was given to disabuse his mistress and her 
immediate advisers, who looked with alarm to the pros- 
pect of Mary being rescued and enthroned by a French 

1 Kfiith, ii. 734, 735. 

* See a letter by Sir Heniy Norris to Queeo Eluabtfth ; Wright, 
L 26a 

* IbicL, 264. 


army^ with the consequent restoration of Popery and 
French influence in Scotland. He wrote to his queen, 
that however she " had been persuaded of the French or 
of their doings," he found that Murray and his friends 
seemed much at their ease, counting LigneroUes's embassy 
to be " rather for the manner's sake " than from any seri- 
ous intention to strike a blow for the captive queen. Then 
follows a very significant explanation, " which is the better 
confirmed to me by LigneroUes's own words, which he 
had of me the same day of his entry to this town, I taking 
occasion to talk to him by the way, who said his commis- 
sion at this time tended to this end, to lay before the 
lords that the king his master was bound by diree respects 
to do for this queen : The one because she was a queen, 
a princess, sovereign as he was ; betwixt whom there was 
some similitude of affections more than could be betwixt 
common persons. The second was for that she was his 
brother's wife, and had honoured France, his realm, with 
her education. The third was for the many alliances be- • 
twixt the house of France and the house of Scotland, and 
for the ancient league and amity which had continued 
betwixt those realms these many years. He said, also, 
the king, in being mindful of the queen's release, did not 
forget the state of the nobility and the whole realm." 
Then follow regrets that there is division among them, 
and the hope that the ambassador may unite them, as if 
that were so easily accomplished, and that all will end 
well for their sovereign and for them. But then they are 
not the King of France's subjects, so that he cannot con- 
strain them if they refuse to take counsel from him. He 
has nothing in his power but '^ persuasions and entreaties, 
and if that would not serve, the king could do no more 
but be sorry for the queen his sister's misfortune, seeing 
he had no means to command them nor restrain them." * 
Throckmorton concludes with a note of a small peculiarity 
in the French ambassador's announcements, which suggests 
that he connected it with the influence of Mary's enemy, 
Catherine of Medici: '^Always when he spake of the 

^ Stevenson's Selections, 27a 


king his master's name, he joined therewith the queen his 
moSier's.*' ^ 

Nearer home the revolutionists had to deal with a spirit 
of a different order. Queen £lizabeth, when she saw 
what the end was to be, was roused into one of those fits 
of fury which made those about her say it was easily to 
be seen whose daughter she was. All had gone utterly 
against her calculations. The sacredness of the sovereign 
was to her the most imperious of human creeds. She 
had counted on it as absolute when she coquetted with 
her sister's subjects ; they might go so far, but there was 
no risk of their going farther. The leaders in Scotland 
had now committed the most awful crime that it lay within 
the compass of human wickedness to commit. Blasphemy 
against the Almighty was merely a rash use of words, 
doing nothing which penitence might not recall ; but here 
was blasphemy put in practical and irretrievable shape 
against the representative of the Almighty upon earth. 

The consummation was perhaps the more irritating 
that she might in some measure reproach herself for help- 
ing it on. She had not honestly done her best to keep 
her wayward sister in' the straight path, rather she had 
felt some comforting or even exulting feelings in the errors 
into which that sister lapsed, conscious that she had the 
power of correcting all, and coming forth as the mag- 
nanimous patroness and rectifier. It was not her inten- 
tion to nourish presumptuous aspirations in subjects, she 
was only making out a case for her own beneficent inter- 
vention ; for in a question between a sovereign and her 
subjects, only a sovereign could judge; and she was 
precisely in the position to be judge of all questions aris- 
ing in Scotland. She had, in fact, arranged all to her own 
satisfaction. Queen Mary had doubtless misbehaved; 
but the subjects who found her at fault should have gone 
to her — Queen Elizabeth — to seek redress, instead of 
lifting their voices and hands against the Lord's anointed. 
She was, perhaps, all the more provoked that the revolu- 
tion was not the result of a fierce contest in which men 

^ Stevenson's Sdections, a/a 

296 interregKum. 

might forget what they were about, and that it was not 
completed in ignorance of her instructions to her am- 
bassador not to permit anything to be done in Scotland 
which subjects ought not to do to a prince. Throck- 
morton had arrived in Edinburgh before the middle t>f 
July. He carried instructions so dear, full, and complete, 
that had he beeii able to make any use of them, he would 
have established the government of Scotland precisely in 
the shape desired by his mistress and her advisers, meting 
out Queen Elizabeth's justice and mercy to all parties from 
her sister queen downwards. One little item in the in- 
terpretation of these instructions shows how absolutely 
exempt sovereigns were in the eye of Elizabeth from the 
obligations lying heaviest of all <m subjects. Protestant- 
ism was to be the rule for all except the queen and her 
attendants : " That the cause of religion be established, 
excepting none but the queen's person and some coni- 
petelnt number for her attendance." ^ 

An exhortation sent along with the instructions gives 
us a clearer revelation of Queen Elizabeth's mind than 
the formal documents themselves. The conduct of her 
sister had vexed and angered her, and she had resolved 
to abstain in the mean time from offering the consolation 
and succour that would have been freely offered to a 
blameless and unfortunate sister sovereign. But now all 
is changed : — 

" Behold suddenly the raising an intestine trouble, in 
manner of war, betwixt her and her nobility and subjects, 
wherein finding her to have a light into such hard terms, 
that she is restrained by her nobility and subjects, as we 
hear, from her liberty ; our stomach so provoked, we have 
changed our former intention of silence and forbearing to 
deal in her causes, jfrsf, to an inward commiseration of 
her, our sister, for this last calamity; and next, to a 
determination to aid and relieve her by all possible means 
for the recovering of her to her liberty, and not to suffer 
her, being by God's ordinance the prince and sovereign, 
to be in subjection to them that by nature and law are 

» Keith, ii. 675. 


subjected to her. For which very purpose you shall say, 
We have sent you at this time to understand truly her 
estate, and the whole ma:nner how the same has happened , 
and to confer with her what may be thought meet for us, 
as hfer sisfter and next neighbour, to do for her, be it by 
council, force, or otherwise; and therefore you shall 
require her to impart to you that which indeed she can 
require of us in honour to be done for her, to bring her 
to liberty, and her realm to concord and inward peace ; 
and so doing you shall assure her we will do as much for 
her (the ciroumstances of her case considered) as she were 
our very natural sister or only daughter. And at the 
hearing of her declaration you shall require her to bear 
with you, if according to our direction you do declare 
also unto her wherewith her nobility and subjects charge 
her; and so you shall orderly make full declaration thereof, 
adding therewith that your meaning is not to increase her 
<:alamities, but to the end, upon the truth known, her 
subjects may be duly reprehended and corrected for 
things unduly laid to her charge: and in other things 
wherein her fault and oversight cannot be avoided, or 
well covered, the dealing therein and order thereof may 
be with wisdom and policy so used and tempered, as her 
honour may be stayed from utter ruin, and her State 
recovered with some better accord to follow betwixt her 
and her subjects. And after she shall have fully declared 
to you her answer, or request, or her other defences, if 
she shall require our aid by force to recover her liberty 
and be revenged, you shall say, That you have commission 
directly to charge and reprove her subjects with this their 
restraining of her their sovereign lady, and to procure her 
liberty; or otherwise to assure them plainly, That she 
shall not lack our aid to compel them thereto ; whereunto 
if they shall not yield, you may tell her you will speedily 
advertise us, who, you doubt not, will perform our 
promise." ^ 

Throckmorton entered on his duties with a heavy heart. 
As we have seen, he had fdars about French initetveo 

^ iCeith. ii. 66S, 669. 


tion. He soon found, however, that there was little to be 
apprehended from any foreign quarter. The danger lay in 
the temper of the Scots themselves. The great lords and 
councillors spoke ** reverently and mildly" of their queen. 
In fact the acts so offensive to Queen Elizabeth tended to 
die salvation of their poor mistress, for the populace " did 
mind vehemently the destruction of her." Instead of ad- 
mitting the doctrine of divine right to do wrong, they put 
in the plainest possible shape the converse proposition ; 
and Throckmorton had the disagreeable but necessary 
task of informing his mistress that " it is a public speech 
amongst all the people, and amongst all the Estates, sav- 
ing the councillors, that their queen hath no more liberty 
or privilege to commit murder nor addtery than any other 
private person, either by God's law or the laws of the 
realm." ^ The ambassador had a clear eye for the difficul- 
ties before him. In his way through the northern coun- 
ties of England we find him anticipating that, as the 
French ambassador was not allowed an interview with 
Mary, so neither would the English. He was, as we have 
seen, right in this anticipation ; and this, with many other 
incidents of his correspondence, shows tiiat he knew well 
what he had to deal with, and might have been a useful 
counsellor and friend to the Scots, had he not been fet* 
tered by imperious instructions. His letters show that 
he was nervously anxious for the solution of the question, 
whether he was right in expecting that he would be allowed 
no audience. When he found that he had anticipated 
only too sagaciously, he found also the seriousness of the 
calamity. He had come with credentials as ambassador 
to a queen, but there was no queen to hand them to. He 
had his instructions about exacting obedience from the 
rebels, but he was in a very unhappy position for using 
them. The intention was that he should go to them from 
their own queen, with the promises of the sister queen to 
back her in her demands against her truculent subjects ; 
the reality was that he had to go to these men and lay 
before them a menace from a foreign power. He was not 

» Wright, L 258. 


absolutely to disobey his instructions^ and remain in Scot- 
land without letting any one know what he had come to 
demand ; but as his demands were not indorsed by the 
sovereign they were to serve, he could not give them the 
desirable emphasis and power. He felt his dilemma 
keenly, and the men he had to deal with saw it, and used 
it to their purposes. 

He succeeded in getting a pretty full explanation of 
the views of some of the confederates ; but it was made 
full just because it was not a State document announcing 
the policy of a government or even committing a party. 
It began by saying, " We cannot conveniently at this time 
give you a resolute answer to the first part of your message 
declared to us in the queen's majesty your sovereign's be- 
half, being here but a small part of that number for the 
present assembled to whom you are directed, the others 
being before your coming dispersed in several comers of 
the realm upon good occasions tending to the mainte- 
nance of the just quarrel, and for suppressing dangerous 
enterprises in the overthrow thereof.'* Though not en- 
titled to speak for their coadjutors, yet seeing, as they 
say, that the Queen of England " finds strange our con- 
duct towards the queen's majesty our sovereign, and her 
highness's imprisonment, whereupon you have made us a 
great and large remonstrance, putting us in mind of the 
duties of subjects towards their natural princes, — we will, 
for your better satisfaction herein, declare some parts of 
our intents and proceedings, which we will desire you to 
impart to the queen your mistress, not doubting but when 
her highness shall have understood the same she shall not 
so far disallow of our doings in that behalf." ^ This pre- 
amble is followed up by a note of the principal events 
from the death of the king downwards. The tenor of the 
narrative is towards supplying information to one not fully 
acquainted with all the events rendering it necessary for 
those who told the story to act. There is in it nothing 
apologetic, imless, perhaps, it may be in the rather re- 
mark&le terms used in the avowal following : " We pray 

i Kdth, u. 678. 


her highness to conceive of us that we take no pleasure 
to deal with our sovereign after this sort as we are pre- 
sently enforced to do, being the person in the world whom, 
according to our bounden duty, we have in our hearts 
most revered and honoured, whose grandeur we have 
most earnestly wished, and with the hazaafd of our lives 
would have endeavoured ourselves to have procured it. 
We never went about in any ways to restrain her liberty, 
nor never entered in deliberation at the beginning of this 
cause of anything might touch her person. The grounds 
of our intents are too welt known to the world, and better 
a great deal than we wish they were ; forasmuch as they 
impart the ignominy of this whole nation, and touch in 
honour the queen herself, as us all."^ 

Having thus got an explanation, uttered with a sort of 
haughty frankness as between friends — an explanation 
which avowedly committed no party as rulers or political 
actors — the ambassador could get nothing more. He 
kept grumbling to one and another that he got no satis- 
factory answer to the demands of his mistress. But that 
mistress herself helped the Scots to a facility of evasion 
which nothing could overcome. He was not accredited 
to the actual power ruling in Scotland, as to a government. 
He could only speak to individual members of the ruling 
power. These treated him according to their humour. 
When he pressed them disagreeably they would assume 
the tone tff men who had business to attend to and had 
no time for idle gossip. Occasionally he caught a sharp 
retort from Lethington's bitter tongue. Gradually and 
gently he endeavoured to explain the hopelessness of his 
mission to Elizabeth. It took about a fortmght, however, 
at that time to receive, even through a State messenger, 
an answer from London to a letter sent from Edinburgh. 
Thus it was among the perplexities of the ambassador, 
that the more hopeless he found his mission, the more 
imperious became the tone of his instructions from Lon- 
don. On one occasion two remarkable letters mtst have 
crossed each other. The one was *his own, anooounciiig 

1 Keith, 11.^79. 


the abdication ; the otlier was a paper of instructions, the 
draft of which exists, with marks of revisal by Cecil. The 
following passages are selected from it : ^ 

^' You shall plainly denounce unto them, that if they 
shall determine an3rthing to the deprivation of the queen 
their sovereign lady of her royal estate, we are well assured 
of our own determination, and we have some most prob- 
able cause to think the like of other princes of Christen- 
dom, that we will make ourself a plain party against them, 
to the revenge of their sovereign, for example to all pos- 
terUy; and therein we doubt not but God will assist us,, 
and confound tl^m and their devices, considering they 
have no warrant nor authority by the law of God or mai^ 
to be as superiors and judges or vindicators ova' their 
prince and sovereign, howsoever they do charge or con- 
ceive xnatt^ of disorder against her. And therein we re- 
quire them to appeal to their own conscience what warrant 
they have in Soipture, being subjects, to depose their 
prince ; M contrary^ and that with express words in that 
epistle who to the Romans commanded them to obey potestati- 
bus supereminentieribus gladium gestatdibuSy although it is 
well known the rulers in JRome were infidel. 

**You may assure thean we do detest and abhor the 
murder committed upon our cousin their king, and mislike 
as much as any of them the marriage of the queen our 
sister with Bothwell. But herein we dissent from them, 
that we think it not lawful nor allowable for them, being by 
Cod's ordinance subjects, to call her, who also by God's 
ordinance is their sovereign prince, to answer to their 
accusations by way of force ; for we do not think it con- 
formed in nature tiiat the head should be subject to the 

Again, when Throckmorton was afterwards angrily re- 
called : — 

^ This letter may be found in Keith (ii. 702) and elsewhere. It 
is so distinct an exposition of the Tudor doctrines, that it has been 
thought proper to copy these passages from the original in the Record 
Office at the Rolls. Scots Correspondence, vol. xiv. No. 39, July 
27» 1567 ; scroll instruction, Queen Elizabeth to Throckmorton, cor 
ijected by Cecil. The passages in italics are in Cecil's hand. 


'* In the old law we have the example of David, who 
Dot to die would ever hurt his anointed sovereign when 
he had him in his will and danger to do what he liked 
with him. In the new we have plain commandment to 
obey and love them, yea, though they be evil." ^ 

It has been supposed that in all this Queen Elizabeth 
was merely playing a game, and that she secretly wished 
success to the confederates, and would readily give them 
private aid. I count this as trifling with a momentous his- 
torical truth. The things done in Scotland slurred the 
dignity of royalty. She felt that a dangerous precedent 
had been established, and no one could tell when it might 
be followed. And indeed, taking the matter from her 
own point of view, she showed her sagacity in desiring, 
for the sake of royalty in England, that such a line of 
action in Scotland should be suppressed, if it could be 
suppressed. There is no doubt that the precedent, and 
the views by which it was justified, had great influence in 
promoting the resistance to Charles I. and its tragic end. 
Had she not been more prudent than her father she would 
have sent a force across the border to carry her point^ 

But although she thus avoided desperate conclusions. 
Queen Elizabeth chose to consider that she and other 
monarchs were absolute rulers by divine ordinance, and 
not liable to be questioned or thwarted by subjects. It 
will clear the way through many difficulties to remember 
that she never swerved from this creed, or permitted it to, 
be questioned. Even in the extreme case of the marriage 
of Mary with Bothwell, she would not permit it to be 
spoken of in her presence that her sister's subjects could 

^ Scots Correspondence, vol. xiv. No. 4S. 

' Mr Hosack, in his 'Mary Queen of Scots and her Accusers' 
(3^0 et seq.\ says Justly of Queen Elizabeth's temper and conduct on 
this occasion : '' Kight or wrong, she would not stand tamely by and 
see her cousin murdered. She would remonstrate with these rebel- 
lious Scots, and if remonstrances proved ineffectual, she would send 
an army to chastise and reduce them to obedience.'' This concur- 
rence is the more significant, as, according to traditional practice, a 
vindicator of Queen Mary has to make the perfidious cruelty of Eliza- 
beth an antithesis to the generous candour of his heroine. See also 
the 14th chapter of Froude. 


interfere to prevent the catastrophe. To this there is 
curious and strong testimony in a letter from Randolph, 
where he tells how Queen Elizabeth just dropped a hint 
of the ominous marriage, and continues : — 

"These news it pleased her majesty to tell me this day, 
walking in her garden, with great misliking of that queen's 
doing, which now she doth so much detest that she is 
ashamed of her; notwithstanding her majesty doth not 
like that her subjects should by any force withstand that 
which they do see her bent unto. 

" Her majesty also told me that she had seen a writing 
sent by Grange to my Lord of Bedford, despitefully writ- 
ten against that queen in such vile terms that she could 
not abide the hearing of it, wherein he made her worse 
than any common woman. She would not that any sub- 
ject, what cause soever there be proceeding from the 
prince, 01 whatsoever her life or behaviour is, that any 
man should discover that unto the world ; and therefore 
she utterly misliketh of Grange's manner of writing and 
doing, that she condemneth him for one of the worst in 
that realm, seeming somewhat to warn me of my familiarity 
with him, and wniing that I should admonish him of her 
misliking." ^ 

On the present occasion Throckmorton showed by his 
conduct his entire belief in the sincerity of his mistress. 
If it were necessary to seek anything beyond the general 
aspect of the afifair in proof of this sincerity, it might be 
found in the ultimate reason which he reported to her for 
abandoning the attempt to influence the Scots, and in the 
success of that ultimate reason. He said he found that 
the Queen of England's interference endangered the life 
of the Queen of Scots. Having ventured to reveal to 
Lethington some of the views in Elizabeth's letter of the 
27th, and to sift him on the effect these might have upon 
his colleagues, the answer, as reported by Throckmorton, 
was : " My lord ambassador, I have heard what you have 
said unto me. I assure you, if you should use this speech 
unto them which you do unto me, all the world could not 

^ Randolph in Maitland's Narratiye. 


save the queen's life three days to an end, and as the case 
now standeth it will be much ado to save her life." 

For some time the ambassador had been enlarging on 
the risk she ran of being put to death; but here, ^fithout 
coi]ftniitting hi^iself to so unwelcome an opinion, he let 
his n)i$t;ress se^ tl^at she was working for that consumm^i- 
tioUji and that the confederates were desirous to avoid it. 
He was seconded by Cecil, whose ingenuity gave point tp 
the advice, by a hint that Elizabeth, if she persisted, wQul^ 
be suspected of doing so for the purpose of securing the 
death of the Queen of Scots, and being able to pTead, 
" Thpu ca^nst i^ot say I did it" ^ 

The ambassador's correspondence reportsi, with piQ- 
turesque distinctness, a conversation which he held with 
twOtOf the confedera,tes. While it showed to hi^l that in- 
tervention from England would increasie Mary's danger, it 
revealed ambitious interests as well a$ angry passions 
looking in the direction of her death. Ostensibly the 
Hamiltons were her chivalrous friends] but whether it 
was a calumny or not, Throckmorton reported to his ini$- 
tress that they eagerly desired her death. His conversa- 
tion was at first with Murray, the Laird of TuUibardin^ 
a brother of the Countess of Mar who had charge of the 
infant king. The laird told hini such things, that the ex- 
perienced statesman, well versed in duplicity, said hq 
could not. think how people could have "snph double 
faces and treacherous minds as the Hs^miltons." Apart 
from the question of criminality, the ambassadpr sug- 
gested th«^t, as a matter of ^If-interests their vieiy was 
a mistake : — 

" I said also they might make a better profit of the 
queqn's life than ihey qould of her death, she being 
divorced from Bothwell, or the inarriage dissolved by 
Bothwell's death, which was like to ensue if justice pro- 
ceeded. That then either some of the Duke's of Chatel- 
herault's sons (as he had divers n^arriable), and likewise the 
Duke of Argyll having a brother to be married also, might 
make a better bargain by manying of the queen, than to 

* Letter, Cecil to Throckmorton, cited by Hosack, 358. 


seek her destruction.'' On this suggestion Tullibardine 
said: — 

" My lord ambassador, these matters which you speak 
of have been in question amongst them ; but now they sec 
not so good an outgate by any of those devices as by the 
queen's death ; for she being taken away, they accompt 
but the little king betwixt them and power, which may 
die. They love not the queen, and they know she hath 
no great fancy to any of them. And by thus mud; they 
fear her the more because she is yet young, and may have 
many children, which is the tiling they would be rid oV* 
The ambassador indeed said that John Hamilton, the 
archbishop, had proposed a distinct practical arrangement 
for putting the queen to death. So far as the character 
of these Hamiltons is at stake, it must be remembered 
that these charges passed through two exaggerating 
mediums. They were made to frighten the ambassador, 
and he desired to communicate his fears to his mistress. 
Continuing the account of his interview, he tells how he 
ventured on certain deprecatory arguments—" some gath- 
ered of the law of God, some of the law of man, some of 
the honour of their whole country, some for particular 
honour for himself and his friends ; " and lastly, on the 
impolicy of opening the succession to the Hamiltons. He 
thought he had made some impression on Tullibardine, 
when one not so easily persuaded — Lethington himself — 
joined them. It was then that the ambassador endeav- 
oured to make the two understand, as he tells his mistress, 
" what your majesty did think of their rash proceedings, 
finding the matter in this hasty sort, to proceed with a 
queen, their sovereign being a queen anointed, — ^not having 
imparted their intents to your majesty.!' He then in his 
perplexity says, " Also I did declare unto him some part 
of the substance of your majesty's instructions given me 
in your said letter of 27th of July." This glimpse at the 
purport of the "said letter" called from Lethington an 
emphatic declaration about Mary's danger. He uttered 
it in offering what he called " the best advice to prevent 
extremity ; " and the words of his counsel were : " Either 
the queen your sovereign will not be advised, or you do 

VOL. IV. u 


forbear to advise her. I say unto you, as I am a Chrisdan 
man, if we who have dealt in this action would consent to 
take the life from her, all the lords which hold out and 
lie aloof from us would come and conjoin with us within 
these two days." ^ 

Throckmorton, in his perplexity, sought help from the 
potent Leicester. Slight revelations show that when he 
thought fit to interpose in the afiairs of Scotland, it was 
with so high a hand as to put Cecil and others in the 
position of mere subordinates ministering to a prince.^ 
Throckmorton, in appealing to him, referred to a letter of 
"discursive and favourable advice" which Leicester had 
sent to him along with his official instructions as ambas- 
sador. In his appeal he takes strong ground ; he regrets 
bitterly the tone of the instructions sent to him, and takes 
credit for achieving great things by his own prudence. 
"Whether," he says, "it were fear, fury, or zeal, which 
carried these men to the ends they be come to, I know 
not ; but I dare boldly affirm to your lordship, albeit I 
coilld neither procure access to this queen, nor procure 
her liberty, with restitution of her to her estate, yet I have 
at this time preserved her life — to what continuance I am 
uncertain. Sure I am there is nothing shall so soon has- 
ten her death as the doubt that these lords may conceive 
of her redemption to liberty and authority by the queen's 
majesty's aid, or by any other foreign succour."' 

The ambassador was told that there is to be a muster 
of the leaders of the confederates at Corstorphine, a vil- 
lage three miles from Edinburgh, to discuss the weighty 
matters on hand ; and on this he drops the remark, " I 
make no other reckoning but that they will agree. I pray 
God their accord be not such as was between Herod and 
Pilate to put Christ to death." * A few days earlier he 

* Scots MSS., No. 50. 

' When Throckmorton's recall was made out, it was intimated to 
Cecil, that ''because it was very late before her highness signed the 
same, and that my Lord of Leicester said he was also to write by this 
despatch, I was driven to forbear the sending away of the packet un- 
til this morning." — Stevenson's Selections, 266. 

•Stevenson's Selections, 261. * Scots MSS., No. 5a 


had cited examples more ominous, because nearer home : 
" It is to be feared that this tragedy will end in the queen's 
person after this coronation, as it did in the person of 
David the Italian and the queen's husband." ^ 

Like other ambassadors lying under suspicion of bear- 
ing imperious messages from England, Throckmorton 
became alarmed for his own safety. His fears were not 
of any harsh dealing from the statesmen with whom he 
was in controversy; but when they retired to their estates, 
and left him unprotected in Edinburgh, he was in much 
perplexity. He saw danger in remaining there, and still 
more danger in an attempt to find refuge in Berwick, a 
project which crossed his thoughts.^ 

Perhaps, had all that his mistress ordered him to work 
out become known, his danger had been far more serious. 
Queen Elizabeth desired to have the young prince or king 
in her charge, and seemed to think Uiis a natural request 
which would be easily conceded. That Throckmorton 
was authorised to make it we only know from his instruc- 
tions. The affair does not appear on the face of the dip- 
lomatic transactions in Scotland. Such a proposal would 
recall to every one practically acquainted with Scots 
politics the bitter history of those times in which Henry 
VIII. strove for the possession of "the child."* 

^ Stevenson's Selections, 255. 

' He writes to Cecil on the 26th of July : " If I could go safely, 
as I much doubt of it, I would retire myself to Berwick until I hear 
from you, this town beine left destitute of all noblemen and gentle- 
men, save Sir James Balfour, captain of the castle, and the Laird of 
Craigmillar, provost of the town. There is also left here 200 har- 
quebusiers for the guard of this town." — Stevenson's Selections, 255. 

' " As ye shall deal with the lords having chaige of the young prince 
for the committing of him into our realm ; so shall ye also do well, 
in treaty with the queen, to offer her, that where her realm appeareth 
to be subject to sundry troubles from time to time, and thereby, as 
it is manifest, her son cannot be free from peril, if she shall be con- 
tented her SOB may enjoy surety and quietness within this our realm, 
being so near, as she knoweth it is, we shall not fail, but yield her 
as good safe^ therein for her child as can be devised for any that 
might be our child bom of our own body, and shall be glad to show 
to her therein the true effect of natural friendship. And herein she 
may be by you remembered how much good may come to her son to 


On the 9th of August the ambassador made a brief but 
strong appeal to Cecil for his recall. He repeated in 
these terms some final words of advice given him by 
Lethington overnight : " * It is to no purpose for you to 
tarry here. You may make matters worse than they bc^ 
for we may not satisfy the queen your mistress's affections 
unless we should cast our king, our country, and ourselves 
away ; and she will do nothing that can be plausible to us. 
To us the least harm — ^nay/ said he, ' we will take it as a 
piece of good — ^will be for her majesty to let us alone, and 
neither do us good nor harm; and, peradventure, this 
will bring far the better mean than any other com^e ; for 
men begin to hold all things suspected that come from you, 
and if you be over-busy with us, you will drive us faster 
to France than we desire to run.'" Throckmorton's 
comment on the conversation is : "I do perceive by the 
Lord of Lethington, they could be as well contented that 
I were hence, as I desire it And surely they see 
thoroughly into your doings, and do understand such 
things and speeches as I could have wished had never 
come to their knowledge." This is an allusion to a Par- 
thian dart sent by Lethington as he went How it wound- 
ed we can but guess, but we can see it to have been 
sharp from its very brevity. " * And, my lord ambassador,' 
said he, *we know all the good purposes which have 
passed betwixt you, the Hamiltons, the Earls of Argyle 
and Huntly, since your coming into this country.' " The 
ambassador's conclusion on all this is : '' To tell you my 
own opinion, I see no great purpose of my tarrying here 
any longer ; for whatsoever you intend to treat with these 
men hereafter, it were good there were some pause used, 
to suffer them to chew upon their own bridles."^ 

Before his last appeal reached London it was deter- 
mined that Throckmorton should be relieved of his nus 

be nourished and accjnainted with our country. And therefore, all 
things considered, this occasion for her child were rather to be sought 
by her, and the friends of him, than offered by us." — ^Letter, Queen 
Elisabeth to Throckmorton, 14th July 1567 ; Stevenson's Selections* 
^ Stevenson*s Selections, 267 


sioiL It was not necessary, however, that he should re- 
turn immediately, and a prospect dawned upon him which 
induced him to remain. Murray was coming, and this 
event promised safety and moderate counsels. Throck- 
morton went three miles out of Edinburgh to meet him, 
deeming such an act "convenient" to her majesty's ser- 
vice. He noted how the new-comer was greeted with 
vehement popular applause. He says, " I had conference 
with him in such sort as might best advance your majes- 
ty's purpose at his hand. And as I found my said lord 
very honourable, sincere, and direct, so I found him not 
resolved what he will do, nor what he will consent unto ; 
abhorring on the one side the murder of the king and the 
circumstances conjoined therewith, which he can like in 
nowise should pass with impunity ; so on the other side 
do I find in him great commiseration towards the queen 
his sister, and yet not fully determined whether he will 
accept the regency or refuse it ; but rather in my opinion 
he will take it upon him than leave it, being thereto 
, pressed by all these lords and gentlemen which have dealt 
in this action, all which, in very deed, be the men he doth 
value and esteem most within this realm." ^ 

There is now a diange in the tone of the ambassador's 
letters. It is not that he is any nearer to the direct ful- 
filment of his instructions. He finds in the end that it 
is ''lost money, lost labour, and lost time that is spent 
here."^ But he is no longer standing on the crust of a 
volcano. He has to deal with a Government pursuing a 
firm and fixed policy. Yet though his letters no longer 
bear a tone of fear or anxiety, their purport cannot have 
been much to the liking of his mistress. Almost imme- 
diately he had to announce a proposal for sending an am- 
bassador to England to represent the new Government as 
an independent sovereignty : '' Upon long conference had 
with the Earl of Murray, and likewise widi the Laird of 
Lethington, and then with them both jointly, I do per- 
ceive &ey be disposed to send some wise man and a 
credit to your majesty in legation, in case they thought 

^ Stevenson's Selections, 269. ' Ibid.» 283. 



your majesty would receive him graciously, and make no 
difficulty to use him favourably as the king's ambassador : 
otherwise, if your majesty cannot be pleased to accept an 
ambassador in the king's name, they mean not to deal 
any further with your majesty." 

Whatever impression Murray may have left as he 
passed through England, it did not extinguish the hope 
that Mary's liberation might be accompHshed, and the 
ambassador was directed to press the point on the new 
Government He lost no time, for on the 2 2d of August, 
when, as we have seen, the regent was inaugurated and 
proclaimed, the ambassador reported a conference held 
with Murray and Lethington on the previous day. They 
professed in common that "they never meant harm — God 
they took to witness — ^neither to the queen's person nor 
to her honour ; " but she was as a person afflicted with 
" an extreme disease," calling for strong and skilful treat- 
ment It fell to Lethington, who had been at the helm, 
to discourse more at length. He managed pretty suc- 
cessfully to involve the main question in complex condi- 
tions : " This matter doth carry with it many parts, some 
concerning the queen's person, some the king her son, 
some the realm, and some the lords' and gentlemen's 
sureties ; and when they shall see a moderation of the 
queen their sovereign's passion, they mean nothing but 
well unto her, and she shall have nothing but good at 
their hands. There is no way to do her so much harm 
as to precipitate matters before they are ripe, or to put 
these lords to a strait ; for so against their wills they shall 
be constrained to do tiiat they would not do." They had 
all endured with patience much hard language from Queen 
Elizabeth and odiers, who called them "rebels, traitors, 
seditious, ingrate, and cruel." And should this treatment 
be carried farther, they may have to deal otherwise with 
their queen than they intend or desire. " * For, my lord 
ambassador/ said he, ' you may be assured we will not 
lose our lives, have our lands forfeited, and be reputed 
rebels through the world, seeing we have the means to 
justify ourselves.' " If England is to make war on them, 


then war be it, rather than that the captive should be 
liberated " in this mind that she is in, being resolved to 
retain Bothwell and to fortify him, to hazard the life of 
her son, to put the realm in peril, and to forfeit all these 
noblemen." As to war with England, they are accus- 
tomed to it : " You will bum our borders, and we will do 
the like to yours ; and whenever you invade us, we are 
sure France will aid us, for their league standeth, and they 
are bound by the league to defend us." Then some far- 
ther hints were discharged about his practices with the 
Hamiltons and others, which seem to have gone home, 
for he made no defence. They were thrown, however, 
more in sarcasm than anger. He was told he was wast- 
ing his money; for either those who take it — alluding 
especially to the Hamiltons — **will laugh you to scorn 
when you have done, and agree with us — for we have in 
our hands to make the accord when we will, — or else you 
will make them attempt some such act as they and their 
house shall repent it for ever." 

He continued with a touch of the same sarcastic scorn, 
tossing the imperious conduct of Queen Elizabeth in her 
ambassador's face, as an insult that, on the whole, his 
party were too strong to trouble themselves about very 
deeply, and passing a jest on the Queen of England for- 
getting to change her tone when she addressed those who 
were not her own subjects. And the while that she was 
calling on them to do what she wished, she was doing 
nothing whatever to further their serious objects : " WiU 
the queen your mistress arm two or three ships to appre- 
hend Bothwell? pay a thousand soldiers to reduce all the 
forts of this realm to the king's obedience ? Then we will 
say, doing this, that her majesty mindeth as well these 
other matters spoken of as the queen's liberty." 

Then comes a sudden change in the diplomatic drama, 
which the anibassador annoimces in saying, just after he 
has recorded this thrust from Lethington, "I directed 
then my speech to my Lord of Murray. Sir, you have 
no such interest in this matter as these men have, for you 
have committed no such excess; and therefore I trust 


this answer given me by the Laird of Lethington — though 
it may be the mind of the other lords his associates — ^yet 
I trust it be not agreeable to yours.' " 

The ambassador had determined to seize his oppor- 
tunity, and to force a way to the intentions that had re- 
mained inscrutable. The time had come when Murray 
had to commit himself to a policy ; for virtually he was 
chief ruler in Scotland, and the ceremonies of next day 
would make his signature the sanction for the enforcement 
of the royal prerogative. He spoke, and his words were, 
as the grave announcement of distinct conclusions likely 
to be eflfected, the weightiest that had for generations 
been uttered in Scotland. As the ambassador reports to 
his mistress, " The earl said, * Sir Nicholas, truly me- 
thinketh you have heard reason at the Laird of Lething- 
ton's hand ; and for mine own part, though I were not 
here at the doings past, yet surely I must allow of them, 
and do mean, God willing, to take such part as they do. 
And seeing tiie queen and they have laid upon me the 
charge of the regentry — a burden which I would gladly 
have eschewed — ^I do mean to ware my life in defence of 
their action, and will either reduce all men to obedience 
in the king's name, or it shall cost me my life. And if 
the queen your sovereign do look into the world, she will 
find more profit for her and her realm to fortify and assist 
us than to be against us ; for though we may have cover 
by her means, yet if the matter be well considered, those 
which her majesty doth fortify against us will bring little 
commodity to her or England.' " 

The ambassador then tells the result of those n^o- 
tiations with the Hamiltons which were the object of 
Lethington's sarcastic and ominous allusions. This part 
of his report is, in- its shifly dubiety, a signal contrast to 
the decided utterances which precede it. The names he 
mentions are the Lord Fleming, who was of consequence 
as retaining the command of Dumbarton Castle ; the Lord 
Herries ; the head of the house of Hamilton, who was 
still in France ; and two John Hamiltons, the one being 
the Archbishop of St Andrews, the other, as it would seem, 
a secular priest, who became dangerously notorious for 


his fierce enthusiasm in the cause of the French Catholic 
league, and his share in the murder of Bamab^ Brissot, 
the great French lawyer and magistrate. Though there 
were thus active men in the party. Queen Elizabeth got 
but a poor prospect of anything effectual being done by 
them. The ambassador says : — 

" I do guess by the contents of their letter that both 
they be not very hasty in this matter, but would gladly 
make your majesty to serve their turn ; and also that there 
be not many to adhere imto them, seeing their letter is 
subscribed with so few hands, and those of no great 
moment. Many of those noblemen and gentlemen 
whereof the Hamiltons made account to run their fortune 
do write daily to the Earl of Murray, and do offer unto 
him obedience and fidelity, so as I think the Hamiltons' 
faction will be fax too weak." Then comparing them with 
the confederates, he concludes : " Indeed their party is 
nothing so well made as these lords*; for besides their 
forces which lie united, they have the town and castle of 
Edinburgh, the town and castle of Stirling, the town of 
Leith, and the passages from all parts of the realm, at 
their devotion."^ 

To the despatch containing these passages and others, 
received by her in the month of August, Queen Elizabeth 
sent an acknowledgment, with instructions so cold and 
hesitating as to show a thorough misgiving about the 
wisdom of her angry demands. She hopes the '^peremp- 
tory proceedings " reported to her are in time to " wax 
colder and to receive some reformation." Her encourage- 
ment to the Hamiltons is of the faintest kind, with a 
tinge of suspicion in it : '^ Our meaning is, you shall let 
the Hamiltons plainly understand that we do well allow of 
their proceedings so far forth as the same doth concern 
the Queen of Scotland for her relief; and in such things 
as shall appear reasonable for us to do herein for the 
queen our sister, we will be ready to perform the same." ^ 

* Keith, ii. 741-745. The letter *' subscribed with so few hands ' 
is mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. 
« Keith, il 747, 74^. 


About the middle of August the ambassador received 
— ^ta his " comfort," as he with evident sincerity says — a 
definitive direction to return. Before he went, however, 
he made a last effort to obtain an interview with Mary, 
and to press for her release. On the former point he was 
flatly told that there was more reason than ever to pre- 
clude his access to the queen, since Lignerolles, who had 
been sent expressly to commune with her, was refused that 
privilege. For the queen's release " the lords could not 
resolve thereupon, because her liberty and the time there- 
of depended upon accidents." The ambassador referred 
to one of the most probable and most important of these 
accidents. Supposing Bothwell caught and "justified" — 
that is, condemned and executed — ^what then ? But Mur- 
ray would not commit himself to prospective action, and 
answered, "They could not merchandise for the bear's 
skin before they had him." The ambassador still per- 
sisted — ^they must " foresee by imagination what should be 
meet for them to do ; " and he so far succeeded as to get 
an answer, reported by him to his friend Cecil in 8ie 
following shape : — 

" The Earl of Murray answered, ' As far as I can per- 
ceive, the queen's liberty then will depend chiefly upon 
her own behaviour and considerate doings ; for if the lords 
may perceive that she doth digest well tiie justifying of 
Bodiwell, the punishment of his adherents, and doth not 
discover a wrathful and revengeful mind towards these 
proceedings, — ^and likewise if the queen your sovereign 
will so deal as we may have cause to think that she 
seeketh the quietness of this realm, and not the trouble of 
it, as by countenancing and nourishing certain factions, — 
then these lords will seek to do all grateful things to the 
queen our sovereign, and to the queen's majesty of Eng- 
land. Marry, to fish so far before the net, and to tell now 
what shall be done then, neither do I nor they think con- 
venient to give any determinate answer.'"^ 

Having given the ambassador his final answer with a 
distinctness that left no room for farther negotiation, the 

' Keith, ii. 759 ; Sterenson's Selections, 297. 


confederates were desirous to propitiate him so fer as they 
could in consistence with the position they had takea 
On the day fixed for his departure he was desired, " aftei 
the sermon," to walk with Murray to his house. There 
he found assembled "all the lords," as he says. Lething- 
ton, apparently with his usual fluent and graceful eloquence, 
took occasion to recall the many services done to them 
by the Queen of England, how especially she had served 
them in their utmost struggles at the siege of Leith, when 
their danger from foreign enemies was extreme. He spoke 
of the accord of religion between the countries as a natural 
bond of union, and declared that " no men would be more 
sorry than they to have the queen's majesty conceive other- 
wise than favourably of them. " Murray followed in the same 
strain, with a stronger reference to personal obligations and 
ties, " concluding &ere was no prince next those which he 
ought his chiefest duty unto, that the alienation of their 
favour might trouble him so much as the queen's ma- 
jesty's." Lastly, Morton was pathetic on the kindness 
shown to him in the time of his " trouble," after the dis- 
agreeable affair of Signor Davie. 

Some of the assemblage took the ambassador to a recess, 
where there was a present for him of " gilt plate." He speaks 
respectfully of its value ; but there was more connected with 
it than money's worth. They offered it to him as a present 
" from the king their sovereign lord." He says, " I de- 
clared that I could not accept any present from any per- 
son within that realm but fix>m the queen their sovereign, 
of whom I would not make any difficulty to receive a 
present if she were in case to bestow any; but as from the 
king — ^whom I took to be prince — I could receive none, 
seeing he had attained to that name by injuring the queen 
his mother." They pressed him hard, but he remained 
firm in his purpose, and so departed homewards.^ 

Queen Elizabeth had an opportunity of explaining her 
policy and conduct on this occasion. She had requested 
the co-operation of the King of France, the Cardinal of 
Lorraine, '^and others, the uncles and fiiends of our sister 

^ Keith, ii. 760, 761. 


the Queen of Scots, touching some honourable means to 
be devised for her relief and liberty." On this invitation 
M. Pasquier was sent as ambassador to England. Queen 
Elizabetii had personal conferences with him. Of these 
she gave an account to her own ambassador in France, 
and as this account does not seem to vary much from the 
truth, it is valuable and interesting. She says : — 

" We told him that as we had been always inclined to 
favour equity and justice as much as in us hath lain, so 
hearing of the pitiful and hard case that the Queen of 
Scots our good sister was in, we could not, for the com- 
miseration we had of her woeful estate, but procure to 
ease her thereof to the uttermost we could, and thereupon 
sent our ambassador into Scotland, who by our order dealt 
first in all mild and gentle sort with the lords there for the 
relief of the said queen ; and perceiving that that manner 
of dealing, although it had been at sundry times and in 
diverse degrees attempted, could nothing prevail, we letted 
not to cause sharp and threatening words to be also used : 
which profiting as little as the rest, we thought best, seeing 
the small fruit that had followed upon our good meaning, 
to revoke our ambassador, and thereupon sent our advice 
and opinion unto oiu: said good brother by you our am- 
bassador, since which time the state of matters seem to be 
very much altered in Scotland ; for whereas at that time 
it was thought that the Hamiltons, and certain others of 
their faction, would have made a good party in that realm, 
if they might have been therein assisted by the French 
king or us, towards the said queen's restoring to her 
liberty, now it is certainly advised from thence that they 
are all come in, and have joined themselves with the rest 
of the lords ; so as there is now no means left within that 
realm to make any party to join with any force that should 
be sent to make any exploit there. Besides, we were (we 
said) bom in hand, that if the matter should be dealt 
withal by way of force and hostility, the queen our sister's 
life were Hke thereby to stand in great hazard ; and there- 
fore, seeing gentleness had not hitherto prevailed, and 
that extremity and force might bring danger to her person, 


whom both the king and we mean to preservie to the best 
of our power, we said, the matter hanging thus in balance, 
would be well thought upon and ripely considered before 
anything were taken in hand." ^ 

Thus Queen Elizabeth stopped in time. It was not 
the only critical occasion on which she did so, to the 
great profit both of herself and others She thus, indeed, 
preserved her self-satisfying principle of divine right by 
never permitting it to encounter the rude test of practice. 
It was chiefly in this faculty that she showed her superior- 
ity to her fatfier as the chief ruler of England. Holding 
the same despotic notions, and stirred often by like pas- 
sions, she yet possessed thathigh gift of policy, the faculty 
of retreating from a false position while it is yet time — 
while yet it can be done without the loss of honour and 
dignity. The history of fifty years earlier shows us, that 
had her father so threatened Scotland, he would have 
pushed his threat " to the bitter end," be that where it 
might There would have been the same relentless casti- 
gation and the same dogged endurance. Whether Maiy's 
life would have been sacrificed or not, the people of the 
country would have presented their old steady front against 
English aggression or dictation. It is anomalous enough, 
no doubt, to suppose the Protestant Scots bringing in die 
French Papists to aid them against their Protestant fiiends 
of England ; but the strong current of nationality would 
have drifted to such a conclusion, and France and Scot- 
land would have actually resumed the ancient league 
against England, still nominally existing. Queen Eliza- 
beth must have felt conscious of all this, and the imminent 
danger to herself that might follow, and so she acted as 
we have seen.^ 

1 Keith, ii. 771, 772. 

' The two leading features in Queen Elizabeth's dealing with this 
affair — 1st, her wradi at the Scots for their conduct to their queen ; 
2d, the influence of her advisers in persuading her that interference 
would only endanger the captive's life — are briefly and clearly set 
down by Cecil, writing to Norris, the English ambassador to France, 
and telling the passing news, when he had no object to serve in tell - 



ing it dedsely : ' * The Hamiltons hold oat ; the Earl of Murray is now 
regent ; the queen's majesty our sovereign remaineth still offended 
with the lords for the queen — ^the example moveth her." And again : 
** Surely if either the French king or the queen should appear to make 
any force against them of Scotland for the queen's cause, we find it 
credibly that it were the next way to make an end of her ; and for 
that cause her majesty is loath to take that way, for avoiding of sbn* 
ders that might grow thereby."— Cabala, 141. 





The events of the year 1567 make a turning-point in the 
history of the Church as well as of the State. As we read 
the statute-book, Popery was overthrown and the Refor- 
mation established in 1560. We have seen, however, 
that it was deemed prudent to confirm the legislative 
work of that year in the year 1567. During the interval, 
the new Church held not so much by the legitimate position 
of an established national institution as by the strength of 
its supporters. Care was taken to leave it so unprotected 
by the head of the State, that any day, through a counter- 
balance of power, the Reformation might have been ab- 
jured as rapidly as it had been adopted. It scarcely 
needed an Act of the Estates to accomplish this. If the 
Romish party had been powerful enough, they and the 
queen would probably not have paid so much respect to 


these Acts, which had never obtained the royal assent, as 
to repeal them by a counter-Act of the Estates. Thus 
it was in this crisis of 1567, when Mary's reign sud- 
denly ceased, and Murray governed in the name of her 
infant son, that the Reformation really was established in 

Within the Church we may trace the effects of the 
change. During the seven years of dubiety the political 
attitude of the Protestant Church is strong and determined; 
but there are few traces of the exercise of authority over 
the citizens. The new ecclesiastical rules are rigidly en- 
forced against ecclesiastical persons, for the purpose of 
keeping the Church itself pure in morals, and correct in 
doctrine and form. There are, at the same time, power- 
ful protestations against crimes in high places, such as the 
murder of Damley, and the other fla^;rant acts of the 
period. It is not until the Church found itself achieving 
a firm position that we see it organising a machinery for 
the correction of the morals of the people. Among the 
earliest existing indications of the new Church looking 
out of its own sphere for matter of reproach and correc- 
tion is one in 1563, when four women are delated for 
witchcraft by the Superintendent of Fife. The matta 
finds its way to an Assembly, who modestly dispose of it 
by a resolution that the Privy Council be requested to 
take order concerning it^ 

On 2dth June 1567 there is an entry significant of the 
beginning of interference with the liberty of firee action. 
John Spottiswood had been excommunicated for his mis- 
deeds. It is told that, in contempt of the Church's thus 
excluding him firom communion with the faithful, Sir 
William Hamilton of Sanquhar harbours the excommuni- 
cated man in his dwelling-house. The Assembly orders 
that Sir William send him forth.* 

We find the corrective authority gradually increasing. 

^ Book of the Universal Kirk, i. 44. 

* Book of the Universal Kirk, i. 98. The Assemblies held from 
time to time were the germ of the "General Assembly ; *' but it is 
perhaps scarcely correct to use at this stage a name applicable to a 
permanent institution. 

DISCIPLINE, 1560-67. 321 

After two years' growth, on the 6th of July 1569, a group 
of offenders — ^there are no means of knowing how many — 
appeared before the Assembly. They were all under ex- 
communication for sins of the flesh, and they attended, 
as the record tells us, " to know what the Assembly would 
enjoin them." 

" The Assembly ordained every one of them to repair 
to their superintendents, or to the ministers, elders, and 
deacons of their own church respecHvky and to receive 
injunctions from them how they shall behave themselves 
till the next Assembly ; and that then they bring a tes- 
timonial from their ministers of their behaviour to the 
Assembly, and that they present themselves to the next 
Assembly bareheaded and barefooted in linen clothes, 
humbly requesting the Assembly for farther injunctions 
for their offences, and restitution to the bosom of the 
Kirk." 1 

There was a movement — certainly a natural one — ^to- 
wards the establishment of an ecclesiastical censorship 
over the press. Bassendyne the printer was charged with 
the publication of a profane ballad in an edition of the 
Psalms. But he had committed a far more serious offence, 
in that a book published by him, called ' The Fall of the 
Roman Kirk,' spoke of "our king and sovereign as 
supreme head of the primitive Church." It was ordered 
by the Assembly that he " is not to print without licence 
of the supreme magistrate, and revising of such things as 
pertain to religion by some of the Kirk appointed to that 

In 1574 a committee was appointed "to oversee all 
manner of books ojr works that shall be proposed to be 
printed, and to give their judgment thereupon if the same 
be allowed and approved by the law of God or not ; their 
judgment or opinion thereof, by their superscription and 
handwrit, to witness and testify for relief of such as shall 
read the said works.'' To revise the sacred poems in 
Latin, just issued by Patrick Anderson, a committee was 
appointed remarkable for the eminence of its members. 

1 Book of the UniYersal Kirk, i. 144. ' Ibid., 126. 

VQl*. IV. X 


'' The Ri^ht Honourable Mr G«orge Buchanan, Keeper 
of the Privy Seal ; Mr Peter Young, pedagogue to oui 
sovereign lord ; Mr Andrew M^ville ; Mr James Lawson, 
minister of EcUnbuigh." ^ Where censorship has existed, 
literature has often taken v^igeance on the censors by 
sarcasms on their ignorance and their incapacity to under- 
stand what they are castigating ; but here it was probably 
the author's grief that he was put into the hands of 
masters only too capable of detecting any deficiency in 
his attainments. 

The authority arrogated by the Churchmen was not 
limited to the class who> wrote books, but extended to the 
most powerful among the territorial lords. 

The Earl and Countess of Argyle came under censure 
— ^he in separating in an unbecoming fashion from his 
wife, she in having attended the Popish ceremony of the 
christening of the prince. The earl professed his willing- 
ness to submit to discijdine if he were in foult, but pleaded 
that he was not to blame. The Superintendent of Aigyle 
was directed to make inquiiy in the matter, and cause such 
satisfaction to be made as God's law appoints. ''The 
countess admitted her guiltiness, and she was ordained to 
make public repentance in the Chapel Royal of Stiriing 
upon ane Sunday in time of preaching.'' ^ 

But however the Church as a body might feel that its 
influence was streDgthaaing and widening, there was one 
point on which the Churchmen personally were doomed 
to< feel that all effort was hopeless — the redevotion to 
spiritual purposes of the revenues of the old Church. 
The appropriators of these funds were natufally the friends 
of Protestantism, because that cause had put them in the 
way of gaining what they had gained, and the triumph of 
Popery might be the loss of all. They might be, diere- 
fore, counted on for any amount of aggregate zeal in the 
cause ; but when there was a personal pressure to deliver 
over to the true Church what they had taken from the 
idolaters, they were firm as fate. 

The policy pursued hj the clergy in^ this contest is 

* Book of the Universal Kirk, i. 31a » Ibid., i. 310. 


supposed to have exercised a decided influence on the 
constitution of the Presb)rterian Church in Scotland. It 
inherited from the Huguenot consistories and synods the 
practice of admitting lay elders as component members 
of the ecclesiastical assemblies. But the decided hold 
which the lay interest has ever held in Scotland may in 
great measure be attributed to this, that in the infancy of 
the Church it was deemed wise that those who showed 
their zeal for the Reformation by despoiling the Popish 
hierarchy should be dealt with as zealous members of the 
new Church. 

It is often said that the institution so arising — ^laymen 
elected by laymen to sit in ecclesiastical courts — ^testifies 
to the broad popular principle of a Church relpng on the 
voice of the people. On the other hand, it may be main- 
tained that, wheliier in its original design or its subsequent 
growth, the lay eldership was a politic device for strength- 
ening the ecclesiastical authority by rooting it in lay soil. 
No doubt ruling elders are laymen elected by laymen ; 
but all who are elected in the higher courts must belong 
to the guild of eldership, and that guild is created by 
the clergy. Every one who sits at the table of the kirk- 
session — the fundamental Presbyterian court — has been 
ordained to the eldership by a clerg3rman ; and whatever 
he may turn afterwards to be, he must have entertained 
principles acceptable to his ordainer. Those so ordained, 
too, have subscribed the articles of faith and discipline 
peculiar to the Church. All this is something very different 
from the election of la3nnen at large to sit in ecclesiastical 
courts, as the constituencies elect members of Parliament 
or of a corporation. As of other institutions connected 
with the Church, the features of this may be traced in 
the institutions of the French Huguenots, who guarded 
it even more strictly tiban the Scots from any disturbing 

In the mean time, the more completely they were 
admitted as a component element in the new organisation, 

* See in Quick's S3modicon (xxvii.) the canons for "elders and 


the more flagrant became their sin if they withheld its 
own from the new priesthood. At the Assembly held in 
the crisis of 1567, "letters missive" were addressed to 
certain important persons among the landed aristocracy, 
inviting and persuading them to be present and co-operate 
with their clerical comrades. Many of them sent letters 
of " excusation," but a sufllcient number attended to 
create surprise at the resolutions adopted by the Assembly. 
They were to do all in their power for the suffering clergy, 
and that not only " to the relief of their present necessity, 
and while ane perfect order may be taken and established 
towards the full distribution of the patrimony of the Kirk, 
according to God's Word ; " but they engage to press in 
Parliament to their uttermost, '' that the faithful Kirk of 
Jesus Christ professed within this realm shall be put in 
fiill liberty of the patrimony of the Kirk, according to the 
book of God, and the order and practice of the primitive 

These protestations were not only permitted to pass, 
but were subscribed by about eighty of the most noto- 
rious impropriators of Church lands. Foremost in this list 
appear tiie signatures of Morton, Glencaim, Mar, Hume, 
Ruthven, Sanquhar, Lindsay, Ochiltree, Sir James Balfour, 
Sir James Macgill, TuUibardine, and William Maitland of 

On die face of the proceedings of Parliament the claims 
of the Church stand as if they were cordially admitted by 
tiie temporal power. A statute in their favour goes out 
of the strict course of legislative indifference to sym- 
pathise with the suffering clergy, and censure their op- 
pressors. "Because," it says, "liie ministers have been 
lang defrauded of their stipends by ane great space, where- 
through they are and sail be constrained to leave their 
vocation imless remeid be provided ; " therefore the Act 
professes to make sure that " the haill thirds of the haill 
benefices of this realm sail now instantly, and in all time 
to come, first be paid to the ministers of the evangel of 
Jesus Christ and their successors." But this was not all 

* Book of the Universal Kirk, i. 107. 


that the Act seemed to promise. The thirds are but a 
temporary arrangement to relieve the Church of its im- 
mediate indigence ; and it is only to last until " the Kirk 
come to the full possession of their proper patrimony, 
quhilk is the teinds" — that is, the tenths or tithes. 
Among the official notes of matters more or less adopted 
by this Parliament, but not formally passed into statute, 
some portion seems to have been devised for giving what 
the clergy professed sorely to need — an effective process 
for recovering the emoluments thus declared to belong to 
them. By way of preamble to this unpassed measiure it is 
set forth ^at these remedies should be in force until " the 
Kirk be put in full possession of the haill patrimony," a 
term whidi includes the temporalities as well as the tithes.^ 
But all this bore no fruit, if we may except the historical 
conclusion, that the statesmen of the day were anxious to 
secure the co-operation of the clergy. 

Many signs of the times, however, make it clear that 
the poor dergy would readily have compounded for a 
punctual payment of their thirds. The law declared for 
them, but, as if in furtherance of a fixed policy, omitted 
to supply them with the practical machinery for enforcing 
their rights, though an Act professing to do so was, we 
have just seen, drafted and laid before the Estates. There 
were difficulties in the way of each clergyman identifying 
his own. His " third " might have to come out of some 
estate which had belonged to his Popish predecessor in a 
distant county. The local collectors paid everything over 
to the comptroller in exchequer, and of him the clergy 
had to seek their respective shares without means for 
recovering them, or even, perhaps, of identifying them. 
The regent issued an order to the controller to permit the 
clergy to collect and appropriate their own thirds. But 
this had no more influence than the other warrants pro- 
fessing to render justice to the clergy, and for several 
years they bewailed the poverty of their lot, and the hard 
measure dealt out to them. They at the same time pro- 
claimed that the selfish men who appropriated the patri- 

^ Act, Pari., iu. 37. 


mony of the Church were hard masters to their tenants, 
and rigid exacters of their tithes, and whether disinter- 
estedly or not, they raised an occasional cry of commiser- 
ation for those who were thus oppressed.^ 

The political storms close at hand brought no relief to 
the clergy. In August 1571 we find some of their lay 
friends, in a memorial to the regent, complaining that 
all temporal sustenance worth looking after was finding 
its way into the hands of " dumb dogs." To these fell 
everything laid apart "for the sustentation of preaching 
pastors, and for other godly uses." The other side of the 
picture was : " As toudiing the condition of our ministers 
present, it is more miserable nor tiie condition of a beggar, 
for beggars have fireedom, without reproof, to beg over all ; 
but our poor ministers, bound to their charge, are com- 
pelled to keep their house, and with dolorous hearts see 
their wives, children, and families starve with hunger." 
The case is expressed with the vehemence of Knox's 
school : — 

" Your Government and greedy wasters violently reives 
and unjustly consumes that which just law and good order 
has appointed for their sustentation — to wit, the thirds of 
benefices, which are now so abused that God cannot long 
delay to pour forth His just vengeance for this proud con- 
tempt of His servants." ^ 

We find the new Church gradually resolving itself into 
that shape and order which enabled it in 1578 to announce 
in a "Second Book of Discipline" its fiill organisation 
into a Presbyterian hierarchy of Sessions aggregating into 
Presbyteries, while these were grouped into Provincial 
Synods, and supplied the members to the supreme Gene- 
ral Assembly. In 1567 we find, when the Assembly meets, 
that "for eschewing confusion in reasoning, the whole 
Assembly present named Mr George Buchanan, Principal 
of St Leonard's College, in St Andrews College, Modeia- 

^ A collection of the documents relating to the thirds of benefices 
and the claims of the Chm-ch will be fomid in Connel on Tithes, i. 
156, and Appendix, 25-27. 

* Bannatyne's Memorials of Transactions in Scotland, 181. 


tor during the convention." ^This title of moderator was 
taken from the practice of the French Huguenots, along 
with other terms, such as that of the " Overture," by which 
any matter was opened for discussion. The first Protest- 
ant Assembly was held in 1559 ; and though the Scots 
had thus an example to teadi them how to walk, it is 
probable that afterwards, being masters of their own 
actions in a free national Church, they afforded more 
practical instruction to their brethren of France than they 

Such dignitaries in the old Church as conformed and 
were received into the new were subjected to its author- 
ity as simple ministers. Thus ''Adam, called Bishop 
Orkney," who married the queen to Bothwell, is found m 
that act to have transgressed the laws of the Kirk, and is 
deprived of all functions of the ministry. The least con- 
formable feature in the new organisation appears to have 
been the "Superintendents," for whom, after the first 
difficulty in organising the several local divisions, the 
Church seems to have been at a loss to 'find suitable em- 
ployment. They appear to have acted after the manner 
of an executive for giving effect to the instructions of the 
Assembly and synods. Persons laid under censure are 
remitted to them for discipline; and we iind that the 
superintendents in general are required to deal with all 
abbots, bishops, and others within their respective pro- 
vinces who profess to belong to the Church by drawing 
its emoluments, and yet who neither perform pastorsd 
duties nor attend at the meetings of the Assembly. They 
were to be brought to the Assembly, that their right to 
remain as ministers of the Word might be tested ; and if 
there were no superintendent in the district, the nearest 
superintendent was to deal with them through " the min- 
ister next adjacent."^ 

There is a supposition that it may have been the inten 
tion of those early Reformers to confer on the Superintend- 
ent important powers and duties in the collation of min- 
isters. One short rule on this ceremony sets forth a very 

^ Book of the Universal Kirk, L 91. 


wide principle of action, however it may have been car- 
ried out in detail : " Touching persons to be nominat to 
kirks, that nane be admitted without the nomination of 
the people, and due examination and admission by the 
superintendent" ^ 

Among the humbler Protestant clergy a considerable 
body appear to have been converts from the old Church, 
and to have been welcomed into the new Establishment 
without much suspicion or jealousy ; but there seems to 
have been no such readiness to welcome the higher clergy 
into the new office of superintendent In one instance, 
where Alexander Gordon, Bishop of Galloway, a member 
of the offensive Huntly family, professed to hold the office 
of superintendent, it was jealously and rigorously denied 
to him.^ 

The form of worship adopted by the new Church 
seems now to have found its way into ample use. It took 
shape in a printed liturgy or prayer-book. The critical 
examination of books of tiiis period, and the comparison 
of one with another, has naturally become an interesting 
and affluent source of polemical discussion. It is, indeec!^ 
so ample and varied, that it is apt to appal the lay in- 
quirer. The " Uses " in the old Church were multitudin- 
ous ; and even when they were reduced to uniformity by 
the Council of Trent, the uniform system was so large and 
complicated, that to be familiar with it demanded a science 
in itself After the Reformation it is needless to say that 

^ Book of the Universal Kirk, i. i6. 

' "It was answered by the Assembly, to the petition of Mr Alex- 
ander Gordon anent the superintendentship of Galloway, first, that 
they understood not how he hath any nomination or presentation, 
either by the Lords of Secret Counsell or province of Galloway ; 
secondly, albeit he had presentation of the lords, yet he has not ob- 
served uie order keeped m the election of superintendents, and there- 
fore cannot acknowledge him for a superintendent lawfully called for 
the present, but offered unto him their aid and assistance, if the kirks 
of Galloway shall suit [sue for the appointment], and the lords pre- 
sent ; and requireth that befbre he depart he subscribe the Book of 
Discipline. Farther, it was concluded that letters should be sent to 
the kirks of Galloway, to learn whether they required any superin- 
tendent or not, and whom they required." — Book of the Universal 
Kirk, i. 15. 

GENEVA LITURGY, 1560. 329 

the divergences among the Protestant communities stiU 
supplied an ample variety of form and matter. Like 
many other portions of theological literature, this has been 
overloaded by laborious attempts to attach significance 
to distinctions of a merely casual character, and to attri- 
bute a deep mysterious meaning to terms which may have 
slipped from the author^s pen as the nearest he could find 
to express some common thought. 

In the old Romish Breviary, however, there may be 
marked off an original stock from which all have sprung. 
The Reformation did not spiun the real spirit of die old 
worship, even when it destroyed the shrines and abolished 
the hierarchy of the old Church. In amply supplying it- 
self from the great fountain of the Bible, the ftamers of 
the different uses which were amalgamated into the Bre- 
viary had chosen the good way in which all must walk 

The prayer-book of the Church of England at once 
attests this in the Latin titles of its services, which are the 
initial words of the old Latin version of the same service, 
as the " Venite, exultemus Domino," " Te Deum Laud- 
amus," and tlie *' Magnificat*' 

The leading principles on which in Scotland the new 
Church stood apart from the old were, — the Pontificate 
as a divine hierarchy ; the real presence in the elements ; 
th^ spiritual efficacy of the sacraments ; the power of ab- 
solution ; purgatory ; and the effective intercession of the 
saints. These left still a conmion stock in the great doc- 
trines of Christianity over which it was unnecessary to 
quarrel. No doubt the Mass and the Mass-book or 
Missal were abused with vociferous eloquence by the 
Scots Reformers ; but this was because the mass proper 
belonged to the celebration of the Eucharist, and thus 
embodied the abjured doctrines of the real presence and 
the spiritual efficacy of the sacrament This hatred did 
not extend to the Breviary as the great storehouse of 
Christian devotion, and in its affluent resources the vari- 
ous Protestant communities could all find material for 
their more limited and simple worship. 

When the Lords of the Congregation formed theb 

^ I 


gFeat leagne m 1557, they "agreed upon two heads, — ^first 
that the common prayer be read in the parish churdhes 
on the Sunday, with the lessons of the New and Old 
Testament, conform to the order df the Book of Common 
Prayer; and secondly, that doctrine, preaching, and in- 
terpretation of Scripture, be had and used privately in 
quiet houses until authority ^ms dbtained from the prince 
to grant public preaching by faithful and true ministers." 
The correspondence of the period leaves no doubt that 
this " Book of Common Prayer " was the English Liturgy 
of Edward VI.^ That it meant, as some have thought, 
the book afterwards brought from Geneva, is at once con- 
tradicted by the mandate regarding "the lessons from 
the New and Old Testaments," since there are no " les- 
sons " in the Geneva book. In the Book of Discipline 
of 1560 the English Liturgy is superseded by the adop- 
tion of "the Book of our Common Ordour, called the 
Ordour of Geneva," and popularly known as Elnox's 

The literary history of this Scots prayer-book is very 
distinct, and at the same time curiously interesting. Among 
the many Protestants who were driven abroad by the per- 
secutions in the reign of Mary Tudor, a considerable body 
congregated in Frankfurt-on-the-Main. It happened that 
they there met with a body of Huguenot refiigees more 
numerous than themselves. The English refugees negoti- 
ated for a joint use of the church occupied by the French, 
and obtained what they desired under the following con- 
ditions, laid down by the municipal authorities of Frankfurt: 
" That they should have liberty to preach and administer 
the sacrament in that church which the Frenchmen "had, 
the French one day and the English another day ; and on 
Sunday to choose also their hours as they could agree 
among themselves ; but it was with this commandment, 
that the English should not dissent from the Frenchmen 
in doctrine or ceremonies, lest they should thereby min- 
ister occasion of offence ; and willed further, that before 
they entered their church they should approve and subscribe 

^ Authorities referred to. Laing*! Works of Knox, vi 278b 

GENEVA LITURGY, 1560. 33 1 

the same confession of faith that the Frenchmen had there 
presented." ^ 

It fell to John Knox to be chief in giving effect to this 
concordat. In the year 1 554 he was called to the ministry 
of the English congregation at Frankfurt. A committee 
was appointed to aid him in preparing a book of devotion 
suitable to the occasion. They held that by the spirit, at 
least, of the municipal direction, they were not bound to 
conform precisely with the French Calvinistic service, 
provided they abstained from aught that might prove 
offensive to the French Huguenots themselves. Hence 
was adjusted the little book afterwards used at Geneva, 
and called *The Forme of Prayers and Ministration of 
the Sacrainents, &c., used in the English Congregation at 
Geneva, and approved by the &unous and godly learned 
man John Calvin.' This, slightly altered and somewhat 
enlarged, became the Book of Common Order in Scotland. 

It had a brief and stormy career among those for whom 
it was first adjusted. From the beginning there was a 
minority who protested against any deviation from Church 
of England practice. These were, before the book was 
many months old, augmented by an auxiliary band who 
emigrated to Germany under the guidance of Dr Cox, who 
had been chaplain to King Edward. He got possession 
of the pulpit, and denounced all schism from the order of 
England. This of course called up Knox in retaliation : 
he denounced the service of England as containing many 
slureds of Popish idolatry, and showed it to be one of the 
causes of God's wrath towards England exhibited in the 
Marian persecution. Cox*s party, however, had a weapon 
of offence which Knox's lacked. They gave forth the 
responses in a loud voice, a practice, as we shall see, 
inconsistent with the whole scheme of Calvinistic worship. 
Knox says of this, " They were admonished not to mur- 
mur aloud when the minister prayed ; but they would not 
give place, but quarrelled, and said they would do as they 
had done in England, and their Church should have an 
English face. The Lord grant it to have the face of 

1 A Disoonrse of the Troubles at Frankfurt; Phoeniz, iL 96 


Christ's CSiUTch, which is the only matter that I sought — 
God is my record ; and therefore I would have had it 
agreeable m outward rites and ceremonies with Christian 
Churches Reformed." ^ 

Knox, who had been victorious in more eminent con- 
tests, was beaten in this. He and his book were speedily 
driven from the field. But, through the influence of those 
who had used it at Frankifurt, it became known among 
English Protestants as a simple form of worship rendered 
in the English language ; and it long exercised an influence 
even in l^gland. The more moderate of the Puritans — 
those wIk) were not hostile to all forms of worship — ^gave 
it their adherence. It W9S sometimes attached, as a be- 
coming book of private devotions, to old English editions 
of the Bible. It now and then comes on die surface in 
the historv of the eaiiy conflict between the Dissenters 
and the Cnurch. The same year (1567) which saw the 
(inal establishment of the Protestants and their Book of 
Order, was conspicuous in England by the earliest trial for 
holding a Puritanical conventicle, one of the Acts of which 
was a protestation in favour of this same Book of Common 

This book might, in the language of the present day, be 
called a prayer>book less ritualistic in character than the 
English Common Prayer. It was a compromise between 
that and the prayer-book of the French Huguenots, with 
a decided preponderance of this latter element In some 
instances where the diveigence from the English form 
seems of small moment, it is yet essential, and stands as 
the representative of broad opinions. For instance, in the 
Scots, as in the French fonn, the prayers are not followed 
by an^ response from the congregation. The import of 
this distinction is, that the words used are communicated 
by the minister to the congregation, who listen to them, 
but are not bound to announce an instant adoption of 
them. Though there is a penitential confession of sins, 
there is nothing answering to what follows in the Common 
Prayer, " The absolution or remission of sins to be pro- 

^ Knox's Works, iy. 42. 

GENEVA LITURGY, 1560. 333 

nounced by the priest alone standing, the people still 
kneeling." This is one of several English usages which 
seem ingeniously devised to satisfy the views of persons 
standing far apart from each other in fundamental prin- 
ciple. The Ritualist sees in it an effective absolution; 
the Evangelical may find in it merely a wholesome remin- 
iscence of those promises of Scripture which are held out 
to the sincerely penitent The absolution was one of 
those features which Calvin desired to re-establish in this 
modified form, but without success. He had, indeed, in 
Geneva, to deal with a very peculiar morsel of the work 
of reformation. The process there was not the reforming 
or remodelling of existing things. Farrel had swept away 
every vestige of the Romish worship ; and the thimder of 
heaven had completed his work by tossing down the cross 
on the top of the great church, which the hand of man 
could not without great cost and difficulty reach. It fell 
to Calvin to erect on this vacant arena a system of worship 
and discipline ; but he did so under the eyes of men in 
jealous alarm of aught that reminded them of the depart- 
ed abominations. So it was that * the constitution and 
• worship of the Presbyterians of Scotland, and of the 
Huguenots of France, took their prevailing peculiarities 
from the small republic on the Rhone. In the end the 
form of absolution was tolerated among the Huguenot 
churches, but was not made a point of order.^ The peni- 
tential confession itself is a literal translation from the 
French fonn.* 

1 *' That such churches as were accostomed on sacrament-dajrs or 
other Sabbaths, after the confession of sins, to pronounce a general 
absolution, may, if they please, continue in it ; but where this custom 
is not introduced, the synod adviseth of the churches not to admit it 
because of the dangerous consequences that may ensue." — Synod!- 
con, can. iv. 

' " Seigneur Dieu, Pire ^temel et " O Etemall God and most mer- 

tout pouissant, nous confessons et cifidl Father, we confesse and ao- 

recognoisons sans feintise devant ta knowledge here before Thy divine 

saincte msuest^, que nous sommes majestie that we are miserable sin- 

pouvres pecheurs, conceus et nais ners, conceavcd and borne in sinne 

en iniquity et corruption, enclins k and iniquitie, so that in us there is 

mal faire, inutiles a tout bien, et no goodness. For the flesh ever- 


The Book of Common Order contains a Confession of 
Faith fundamentally different from that larger Confession 
separately adopted by the Parliament and the General As- 
sembly. If we seek its origin, we shall find this in a mere 
recasting of those passages in Calvin's Catechism which 
contain a critical examination of the Apostles' Creed. 
The Scots Confession embodies that Creed. The various 
articles are printed on the margin as a rubric, thus forming 
the texts on which the several divisions of the Confession 
are a commentary. Having absolutely no other sanction 
than the tradition of the Christian Church, the Apostles' 
Creed has not received much acceptance in Scotland. I- 
am not aware, however, that any prohibition of its use is 
recorded. When, in the manner we shall afterwards see, 
a form of service ceased to be used, there was no rule for 
the use of the Creed ; and it fell into disuse, and became 
virtually unknown among the worshippers in the Presby- 
terian churches in Scotland. It is curious to watch a 
tendency to this conclusion in the several editions of the 
Book of Common Order. The Confession of Faith came 
to be printed without the rubric — that is to say, the com- 
ment of the French and Scots divines was retained, but 
the articles on which it was a comment, being among the 
traditions of the Church of Rome, were dropped.^ 

que de nostre vice nous tnLns|;Tes- more rebelleth against the spirite, 
sons sans fin et sans cesse tes samcts whereby we continuallie transgresse 
commandements. En quoy faisant Thine holy precepts and command- 
nous acquerons par ton juste juge- ments, and so doe purchase to our- 
ment mine et perdition sur nous." selves, through Thy just judgement, 
— La Forme des Priires Eccl^as- death and damnation.'^ — Book of 
tiques, 1586. Common Order, 1591. 

^ It may be noted that the Creed, as printed in the mbric of the 
Confession, is exactly as it is in the Book of Common Prayer, except 
one word. Where the Englbh book has ** He rose again from iJke 
deadf** the Scots has " He rose again from death.^* Perhaps this is 
a mere slip. The English is the more accurate translation from the 
Breviary, which has ** resurrexit a mortuis, '* answering to the original, 
«ie vtKpMf. The French is " resuscit^ des morts." 

Another point of minor criticism suggests itself. Since the Creed 
is in the Book of Common Order broken up into paragraphs, do these 
aeree with the old divisions maintained in the traditions of the 
Qinrch ? As the reader probably knows, this tradition was, that at 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 335 

The directions for the ministration of the Lord's Sup< 
per, as it is termed in the Book of Common Order, have 
much in common with the French form. They both 
materially differed from the English, in driving unwortiiy 
persons from participation in the ceremonial. The doc- 
trine of the old Church dealt with the Eucharist as pecu- 
liarly appropriate to the sinful, being a means for their 
redemption. A little of this spirit entered into the Church 
of England in the warning to those who have intimated an 
intention to communicate : " If any of those be an open 
and notorious evil liver, or have done any wrong to his 
neighbours by word or deed, so that the congregation be 
thereby offended, the ciurate, having knowledge thereof, 
shall call him, and advertise him, that in any wise he pre- 
sume not to come to the Lord's table until he hath openly 
declared himself to have truly repented and amended his 
former naughty life," &c But both in the French and 
the Scots form there is a solemn exclusion of all unwor- 
thy persons from the table.^ This exclusion, or " excom- 

Pentecost the Creed was revealed to the assembled disciples^ not en- 
tirely to all, but in twelve separate parts, each revealed to and an- 
nounced by an individual apostle. The divisions do not agree ; and 
the Calvinistic division is the more logical of the two, as will be seen 
in the opening passages : — 

The Tradition. Thb Book of Common Order. 

I. " Petrus dixit, 'Credo in Deum i. "I believe in God the Father 
Patrem Omnipotentem.' Ahnighty, Maker of heaven and 

a. "Joannes dixit, 'Creatorem earth; 
coeli et terrae.' 2* "And in. Jesus Christ, His 

3. "Jacobus dixit, 'Credo et in only Son, our Lord." 
lesum Christum, Filum ejus uni- 
cum, Dominum nostrum.'" — Sixti 
Senensi Bibliotheca Sancta, 49. 

1 Db LA CtNB. The Ministration of the 

II A * T *i. -ixj Lord's Supper. 

' ' An nom et en 1 authonte de nos- 

tre Seigneur Jesus Christ, j'excom- "In the name and authority of 

mune tons idolatres, blasph^mar. the Eternal God, and of His Son 

teurs, contempteurs de Dieu, hdr- Jesus Christ, I excommunicate from 

^tiques, et toutes genes qui font this table all blasphemers of God, 

sectes k part pour rompre Tunit^ all idolaters, all murtherers, all 

de VEglise, tous perjures, tous ceux adulterers, all that be in malice or 

qui. sont rebelles k pires et k mhres envie ; all disobedient persons to 

et leurs sup^euis, tous seditieux, father or mother, princes or magis> 


munication," as it was termed, is still conspicuous in the 
commemoration as practised in Scotland. It is called 
"the fencing of the tables;" and although no form is 
prescribed for this denunciatory process, it is said to be 
sometimes all the more terrible that it is left to the indig- 
nant eloquence of the presiding minister. 

It is observable that the French form keeps clear of 
perilous matter by offering no definition of the object or 
the effect of participation in the elements. The direction 
simply is, that the minister sits down at the table with the 
others, and sees that they partake of the bread and wine 
with reverence and in due order, passages of Scripture 
being read and psalms sung during the partaking. The 
Book of Common Order goes a step farther towards the 
definition of an object. The direction is in these words : 
" The minister breaketh the bread and delivereth it to the 
people, who distribute and divide the same among them- 
selves, according to our Saviour Christ's commandment, 
and likewise giveth the cup j during the which time some 
place of the Scripture is read which doth lively set forth 
the death of Christ, to the intent that our eyes and senses 
may not only be occupied in these outward signs of bread 
and wine, which are called the visible word, but that our 
hearts and minds also may be fully fixed in the contem- 
plation of the Lord's death, which is by this holy sacra- 
ment represented." In the Confession of Faith adopted 
by the Estates and the Assembly there is a far more elabor- 
ate definition of the influence attributed by the Kirk to 
the act of communicating. It is a strange piece of rea- 
soning, like the work of a strong intellect drawn in oppo- 
site directions. To one who is practically acquainted 
with modem Presb)rterian doctrine and practice, and who 
is not deadened to the meaning of the Confession by 
hearing or reading it as a matter of routine, the explana- 
tion is curiously expressive. It is like the writing of one 

mntins, bateurs, noiseurs, adultiies, trates, pastors or preachers ; ^ all 

paillards, larroDS, avarideux, ravis- theeves and disceivers of their neigh- 

seurs, 3rvrognes, gourmans, et tons hours ; and, finallie, all such as five 

oeux qui meinent vi scandaleuse." a life directly fighting against the 

—Edition 1576, p. 23. will of God."— Edition 1591, p. 133. 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 337 

who is under the spell of the old forms and beliefs, and 
endeavours to throw them off and adopt the pure theory 
of commemoration, without entire success.^ 

1 « We utterly damn the vanity of they that affirm sacraments to be 
nothing else but naked and bare signs. Na we assuredly believe that 
by baptism we are ingrafted in Christ Jesus, to be made partakers of 
His justice, by which our sins are covered and remittea ; and also 
that in the Supper rightly used Christ Jesus is so joined with us that 
He becomes very nourishment and food of our souls. Not that we 
imagine any transubstantiation of bread in Christ's natural body, and 
of wine in His natural blood, as the Papists have perniciously taught 
and damnably believed ; but this union and conjunction which we 
have with the body and blood of Christ Jesus in Uie right use of the 
sacraments is wrought by operation of the Holy Ghost, who by true 
fiuth carries us above all thmgs that are visible, carnal, and worldly, 
and makes us to feed upon the body and blood of Christ Jesus, which 
was once broken and shed for us, which now is in the heaven, and 
appears in the presence of His Father for us : and yet, notwithstand- 
ing the far distance of place which is betwixt His body now glorified 
in the heaven, and us now mort^d in this world, yet we most assuredly 
believe that the bread which we break is the communion of Christ s 
body, and the cup which we bless is the communion of His blood ; so 
that we confess and undoubtedly believe that the faithful, in the right 
use of the Lord*s table, do so eat the body and drink the blood of the 
Lord Jesus, that He remains in them and they in Him. Yet that 
are so made flesh of His flesh, and bane of His bemes, that as the eter- 
nal Godhead has given to the flesh of Christ Jesus (which of the awin 
condition and nature was mortal and corruptible) life and immortality, 
so does Christ Jesus, His flesh and blood eaten and drunken by us, 
give unto us the same prerogatives ; which albeit we confess are 
neither given unto us at that time only, neither yet be the projper 
power and virtue of the sacraments only, vet we affirm that the faith- 
ful, in the right use of the Lord's table, has conjunction with Christ 
Jesus, as the natural man cannot apprehend. Yea and farther we 
affirm, that albeit the faithful, oppr^sed by negligence and manly 
infirmity, does not profit so much as fhey would in the very instant 
action of the Supper, yet shall it after bring fruit forth, as lively seed 
sown in good ground; for the Holy Spirit, which can never be 
divided from the right institution of the Lord Jesus, will not frustrate 
the faithful of the fruit of that mystical action. But all this we say 
comes of true faith, which apprehends Christ Jesus, who only makes 
His sacraments effectual unto us ; and therefore, whosoever slanders 
us, as that we affirmed or believed sacraments to be naked and bare 
sic;ns, do injury unto us, and speaks against the manifest truth. But 
this liberally and frankly we confess, that we make ane distinction be- 
twixt Christ Jesus in His eternal substance, and betwixt the elements 
in the sacramental signs ; so that we ¥rill neither worship the signs ip 



Among the Huguenots, the ordinances which bound the 
members of the congregation to the visible Church — 
baptism, marriage, and the Lord's Supper — ^were performed 
in the presence of the congregation assembled at public 

In tiie Scots form of marriage it is directed that " the 
parties assemble at the beginning of the sermon ;*' and it 
seems tb have become gradually the rule that marriages 
as well as baptisms were to be celebrated only on Sundajrs 
— ^at least there are instances where marriage on a " ferial '* 
or ordinary week-day is dealt with as an irregularity.^ 

In the baptisms of the Scots Church, in the sixteenth 
and the early part of the seventeenth century, there was 
a party who in later times dropped out of the ceremony 
— ^the Godfather. The instruction is, that " the infant to 
be baptised shall be brought to the church on the day 

place of that which is signified by them, neither do we despise and 
interpret them as unprofitable and vain, but do use them with all 
reverence, examining ourselves diligently before that so we do, be- 
cause we are assured by the mouth of the stpostle, that such as eat of 
that bread and drink of that cup unworthily, are guilty of the body 
and of the blood of Christ Jesus. " 

^ ''II est k noter qu'on doit apporter les enfans pour baptiser, on 
le Dimanche k I'heure du cat^chisme, ou les autres jours, au sermon ; 
afin que comme le baptisme est une r^ption solenelle en I'^lise, 
qu'il se fiice en la presence de I'assembl^e.' — Le Forme des Fibres, 
edition 1576. 

* Thus, on 30th December 1567, the minister of Ratho was sus- 
pended for celebrating a marriage to wMch, among more serious ob- 
jections, there were, " without proclamation of bamis or a testimonial 
thereof, and upon a ferial day, contrary to all order established in the 
Kirk ''—Book of the Universal Kirk, 1. 114. In 1572 Mr John Row 
was charged with "solemnising the bond of matrimony betwixt the 
Master of Craufiml and the Lord Dnunmond's daughter without pro- 
clamation of bands, and in like manner out of due time — ^viz., on a 
Thursday, at afternoon prayers." — ^Ibid., 256. On one occasion the 
question of the proper time for baptising came up in an odd manner, 
mixed with others of a more serious character. Among a set of per- 
plexing queries to be solved by the Assembly, one is, ** What punish- 
ment ^lall be for ane minister that baptises ane murtherer's bairn on 
ane Monday, not being ane day of preaching, and without repentance 
of the muitherer remaining at the king's horn?" — that is, a fugitive 
from justice. The answer is, ** Deserved deposition."— Ibid. , 345. 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 339 

appointed to common prayer and preaching, accompanied 
by the father and godfather ; so that after the sermon, the 
child being presented to the minister, he demandeth this 
question, * Do you here present this child to be baptised, 
earnestly desiring that he may be ingrafted in the mystical 
body of Christ?'" Perhaps we may take the spirit in 
which the Scots received the sponsorial institution, so well 
known still in England, from the following authorised in- 
junction to the Reformed Church in France : " Forasmuch 
as we have no commandment from the Lord to take god- 
fathers or godmothers, who may present our children unto 
baptism, there cannot be any particular canon made which 
shall bind persons to do it. But sith it is a very ancient 
custom, and introduced for a good end, to wit, to testify 
the sureties' faith and the baptism of the infant, and also 
, for that they charge themselves with the care of educating 
the child in case it should be deprived of its parents by 
death ; and for that it doth maintain a sweet communion 
among the faithful by a conjunction of friendship, they 
who will not observe it, but will by themselves present 
their own children, shall be earnestly entreated not to be 
contentious, but to conform unto the ancient and accus- 
tomed order, it being very good and profitable." ^ 

In the many editions of the Book of Common Order 
there are vaiiations, and in some there are additions, 
which appear not to have been made under any ecclesias- 
tical authority. Thus, as in the English prayer-book, there 
were hymns translated from the Breviary, having by way 
of distinctive title the first words of the Latin version. 
Among these was the " Song of Blessed Mary, called the 
Magnificat,'' the " Veni Creator," and the " Nunc Dimit- 
tis." There was a calendar, in which the several events 
of the history of the Virgin which had been selected by 
the old Church as the object of solemn ceremonies were 
reverently amended. There were a few saints' days, and 
some of the saints commemorated in them belonged to 
tradition, not to Scripture, as St Martin and St Lawrence. 

^ Quick's Synodicon, L dv. 


We shall again meet with the Book of Common Ordei 
when we come to the disputes which ushered in the great 
civil war of the seventeenth century.^ 

With an origin thus rooted in French soil, it could not 
be but. that the Church of Scotland should bear many 
marks of its parentage. As we have seen, the organisation 
of the new Establishment was on the exact model of the 
Huguenot communities, with the one exception, that in 
the Superintendents the Scots made what some at least 
have deemed a nearer approach to a hierarchy, with per- 
manent division of ranks and duties. Some mere inci- 
dental points, already casually noticed, perhaps show re- 
lationship still more distinctly than those large ^ndamental 
features, which may be said to resemble each other because 
they represent eternal truth. 

Thus the very significant symbol afterwards adopted by 
the Church of Scotland, the burning bush — the bush which 
Moses beheld burning but unconsumed — ^was a favourite 
among the early Huguenots.* The term Moderator was 

1 I have not met in any copy of the French ' Forme des Pri^res 
Ecd^siastiques ' with the commemoration of saints of the old calendar 
not belonging to the Biblical period, and all I have seen tends to the 
opinion that they were especially excluded. Their place, indeed, was 
otherwise occupied. In the edition of 1576 there are events of Scrip- 
ture history, and also of history contemporary to the pablication of 
the calendar. But the entries which appear espedally to displace 
those of the translation-day of the medieval saints are sudi as these : — 

** 27 May. — Mourut Jean Calvin, homme de singulier savoir et 
grande pi^t^. 

'*S JuilUt* — ^Jean Hus fut brusl^ au Condle de Constance I'an 
141 5, pour maintenir la vdrit^ de I'Eglise.*' 

' The editor of the Synodicon, after telling how the Piedmontese 
had for their common s^ ''a taper burning in a golden candlestidc, 
scattering its glorious beams in a sable field of thick darkness, *' goes 
on to ''another seal, as illustrious an hieroglyphic as the former, 
appertaining unto the national synods of those renowned and once 
flouri^ing, though now desolate. Reformed Churches of France, 
which was Moses^ miraculous vision when he fed the flock under the 
mount of God — viz., a bramble-bush in a flaming fire, having that 
essential incommunicable name of God, Jehovah, engraven in its 
centre, and this motto* ' Comburo non consumor^* in its circumference 
— ' I bum, but am not consumed. With this those venerable councils 
•ealed all their letters and despatches." — Epistle Dedicatory. 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 341 

peculiar to the French Protestant Churches, as applied to 
the chairman or president selected by each ecclesiastical 
assembly or meeting, whether great or small The term is 
familiar to every one in Scotland, as of time-honoured use 
for the same purpose. Any piece of business of the General 
Assembly and the other Presbyterian courts in Scotland is 
opened by an "overture," the direct descendant of a solemn 
form in the French Parliaments. 

The title-page of the earlier editions carries the foreign 
origin of this liturgy on its face. For instance, the Edin- 
burgh edition of 1565 has *The Form of Prayers and 
Ministration of the Sacrament used in the English Church 
of Geneva, approved and received by the Church of Scot- 
land.' In the editions a few years older, printed abroad, 
where this announcement of reception by the Chiurch of 
Scotland stands, there are the words, " approved by the 
famous and gocUy learned man John Calvin." Ten years 
later the title varied to * The Psalms of David in English 
Metre, with the Form of Prayers and Ministration of the 
Sacrament used in the Church of Scotland.' As the 
Psalms occupied by far the greater portion of the volume, 
it came to be popularly called the Psalm-book ; and even 
in this small matter there was an assimilation to French 
practice which gave the title ' Les Pseaumes de David, 
mes en Rime Fran9ois.* In the year 1564 we find an Act 
of Assembly in which " it was ordained Uiat every minister, 
exhorter, and reader shall have one of the psalm-books 
lately printed in Edinburgh, and use the order contained 
therein in prayers, marriagjes, and ministration of the 
sacraments." ^ 

The early editions of the Psalms are, like the Book of 
Common Order itself, not uniformly the same ; but the 
bulk of them all was the well-known English translation 
attributed to "Stemhold and Hopkins." They received 
some aid from native Scotsmen* two of them men of mark 
— ^John Craig and Robert Birt. It is of interest to know 
that the Regent Murray gave to the cause of psalmody in 

1 Book of the Universal Kirk (Baniiatyne edition), i. 54. This 
order is not contained in the octavo edition. 


Scotland his assistance as a man not only zealous for the 
cause of the Reformation and all things especially belong- 
ing to it, but as one who evidently had his own views on 
music and its right adaptation to the purposes of collective 
worship. We have the tunes " harmonised " into four parts 
by his desire ; and know that the task was undertaken by 
a certain David Publes or Peebles, and because he was 
not sufficiently earnest in the task, completed by Nicholas 

The " Book of Common Order *' came forth in many 
editions. The later of these vary from the earlier, chiefly 
in the removal of services applicable to events contem- 

1 Wood tells us how "my Lord James — who after was Earl of 
Murray and regent — being at the Reformation Prior of St Andrews, 
causes ane of his canons to name David Publes, bdng ane of the 
chief musicians into this land, to set three parts to the tenor : and my 
lord commanded the' said David to learn the curiosity of music, and 
so to make all dulce, and so he has done ; but the said David he was 
not emest ; but I being come to this town to remain, I was ever re- 
questing and soliciting till they were all set" Wood was a disap- 
pointed man, not meeting his reward, and believing that the world 
was coming to the condition when only those who contributed to 
substantial wants or sensual luxuries would be valued. "Notwith- 
standing of this travel I have taken," he sa3rs, " I cannot understand 
but music shall perish in this land alutterly ;" and "to ane great man 
that hes but ane reasonable grip of music these five books are worth 
their weight in gold." The ** parts," according to facsimiles recently 
made, are richly adorned or illuminated according to the art of the 
day. We have, in rather spirited art, allegorical figures, or rather 
imaginary full-length portraits of the performers in the "parts," with 
a poetic explanation. We have for the first * * Tennour, ** introduced 

" I may be knawen by my heavenly line, 
I am ane man of mickil modesty, 
And therefore sings my part with notes most true. 
As it affeirs unto my faculty." 

Next comes " Tribbill," a more jovial figure, announced by — 

" My blistering colour, glorious and green, 
Betokens youth, with glad and merry heart, 
Whilk ever does with courage from the splene, 
But praise or paine, with pleastuv sing my part" 

See "An Accoimt of the Scottish Psalter, A.D. 1566, by David Laing, 
Proc. Ant Soc. Scot., vii. 445, and "History of the Scottish Metn- 
cal Psalms, with an Account of the Paraphrases and Hymns and of 
the Music of the Old Psalter ; illustrated with twelve plates of MS. 
music of 1565, by the Rev. J. W. Macmeeken. 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 343 

porary with the early issues, such as '' a thank^ving unto 
God after our deliverance from the tyranny of the French- 
men, with prayers made for the continuance of the peace 
betwixt the realms of England and Scotland.'' Its formal 
name, as we have seen, was 'The Book of Common 
Order,' and this name among the Protestants of Scotland 
became the equivalent of ' The Book of Common Prayer ' 
among those of England. After the lapse of nearly a 
hundred years from the introduction of the Scots form, 
we shall again come across it in troublesome times, and 
find it dropping, almost unnoticed, out of existence, as 
the companion of the English prayer-book, when that 
was assailed and conquered by enemies. The Book of 
Common Order, meanwhile, had so unobtrusive an exis- 
tence as the service-book of the Scots Protestants, that 
references to it in the civil and even in the ecclesiastical 
history of the period are extremely rare.^ 

^ Hence the following slight morsel of comparative criticism bv 
two lay politicians has value from the scantiness of other notice, it 
arose out of the events to be presently told. While Queen Mary 
was detained at Bolton Castle in Jidy 1568, some English statesmen 
seem to have yielded to the delusion that she was about to become an 
earnest member of the Church of England. At that time Sir Francis 
Knollys, Queen Elizabeth's vice-chamberlain, a stem servant of the 
English Crown, but courteous and kindly, had the chief, responsibility 
about Queen Mar/s disposal. Naturally it was of interest to him to 
know what truth was in the rumour that she was becoming attached 
to the English Common Prayer-book. Hence we have from him this 
account of a conversation with Lord Henries, Queen Mary's am- 
bassador or advocate at the Court of Queen Elizabeth, and, it may 
be noted, a Protestant : " And touching the condition of this queen 
receiving of the form of common prayer after the manner of England, 
I said unto my Lord Herrys, that if he meant thereby to condemn 
the form and order of common prayer now used in Scotland, agree- 
able with divers well-reformed churches in Germany, Switzerland, 
France, and in Savoy, and that withal he would reject and annihilate 
the Confession of Faith acknowledged in Scotland by Parliament, 
because there is no such Confession of Faith acknowledged in Eng- 
land, or tlmt he meant to expel all the learned preachers of Scotland 
if they would not return back to receive and wear cornered caps and 
tippets with surplice and coopes, which they have left by order con- 
tinually since their first receiving of the Gospel into that r^m, — then, 
howsoever he meant to further religion hereby, I said I thought and 
(fared that he might so rather contend so far for the form and order 


So it was that, by a strange yet distinct and traceable 
succession of events, it was the destiny of Scotland to 
be again influenced by France. And in some measure 
the new influence was stronger than the old. That had 
been political and superficial, but this was social and vital. 
A despotic Court, swarming with courtiers affluent and 
luxurious, had few points of sympathy for the Scots. The 
broken and persecuted Huguenots had claims on them of 
another kind ; and they are not to be blamed for failing 
to see, as we in calmer times can from many incidents, 
that had the Huguenots been victorious, they would have 
been as bloody and tyrannical as their opponents. This 
common feeling with their brethren of Scotland cheered 
the hearts and strengthened the hands of the French Pro- 
testants, and it was often remarked by their enemies how 
evil an influence it had on the rebels in France to witness 
the success of their brother rebels in Scotland, and peruse 
their pestilent literature. 

The possession of a form of service was, as it happened, 
of essential use to the new Church in helping it to econo- 
mise its limited ministering power. The First Book of 
Discipline decreed that " none ought to presume either to 
preach or yet to minister the sacraments '* but those who 
were ordained ministers ; but the same code made provi- 
sion, that "to the churches where no ministers can be had 
presently, must be appointed the most apt men that dis- 
tinctly can read the common prayers and the Scriptures, 
to exercise both themselves and the church till they grow 
to greater perfection." ^ A large and affluent congregation 
would have a reader to assist the minister; in other 
instances a group of parishes would each have a reader, 

of common prayer that he might bring the substance of religioti in 
peril, and that he might so fight for the shadow and image of religion, 
that he might bring the body and truth in danger : whereunto he 
answered, that in cities and towns, where learned preachers remain, 
he allowed very well of the form and order of common prayer and 
preaching now used in Scotland ; but in the countries, where learned 
men were lacking, he said the form of common prayer in England 
was better to be allowed, in his judgment, — whereunto I agreed very 
well with him.'* — Anderson, iy. no, m. 
* First Book of I^iscipline, iv. i, 19. 

BOOK OF COMMON ORDER, 1560-67. 345 

while a minister presided over all, and visited each on 
occasion to preach and administer ecclesiastical rites. It 
appears that often some half-educated priest or friar of 
the old Chm-ch was content to earn a scanty living in the 
new as a " reader." ^ A well-informed writer says that " in 
1567 there were about 289 ministers and 715 readers in 
the Church." « 

As it was the object of the promoters of the Book of 
Common Order to preserve a ritual for the congregation, 
and yet to keep it absolutely clean from all those doctrines 
and practices which their Church condemned, there were 
two matters demanding much nicety and skill in their 
handling. The one was the commemoration of the atone- 
ment or of the Last Supper, which was to be cleansed of 
the idolatry of the real presence ; the other was the burial 
of the dead, where any admission of purgatory, or the 
possibility that there was still an opportunity of doing 
anything on earth that might be of service to the soul of 
the departed, must be shunned.^ The commemoration of 
the Last Supper has already been discussed, and it will 
again come up when a proposal to supersede it became 

^ Sprott, introduction to the Book of Common Order, xxiiL 
This author sajs, ** Some of the early session records at St Andrews 
mention the reception of many conforming; priests. " It may be noted, 
that of the many editions of the Book of Conmion Order, that here 
referred to is the one to be considted for historical purposes. Its 
title is, ' The Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, 
commonly known as John Knox's Liturgy, and the Directory for the 
Public Worship of God, agreed upon by die Assembly of Divines at 
Westminster; with Historical Introductions and Illustratiye Notes 
by the Rev. George W. Sprott, B.A., and the Rev. Thomas Leish- 
man, M.A. 1868.' 

* Sprott, introduction to the Book of Common Order, xziii. 

' A very instructive account of the feeling ever entertained by the 
thorough Presbyterian party on this point wul be found in a pamphlet 
called * Free notes on the late Religious Celebration of the Funeral 
of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales. By Scoto 
Britannus. 1817.' This is attributed to Dr M'Crie; and to one 
familiar with his works internal evidence immediately confirms the 
imputation. It is thoroughly warmed with the primitive Presby- 
terian zeal ever burning within him, and is composed with a purity 
of style, and illustrated by an abundance of learning, not invariably 
found in attendance on that kind of zeal. 


an element in a memorable contest. For the burial of 
the dead it was thought the safer course to avoid all form. 
In the book there is merely this instruction : " The corpse 
is reverently brought to the grave, accompanied with the 
congregation, without any further ceremonies; which being 
buried, the minister, if he be present and required, goeth 
to the church, if it be not far off, and maketh some com- 
fortable exhortation to the people touching death and 

The First Book of Discipline tempers the abjuration of 
the offensive doctrines with a certain misgiving about the 
entire abandonment of ceremonial. It says, " Burial in 
all ages hath been holden in estimation to signify that 
the same body that was committed to the earth should 
not utterly perish but should rise again. And the same 
we would have kept within this realm, provided that 
superstition, idolatry, and whatsoever hath proceeded of 
a false opinion, and for advantage' sake, may be avoided ; 
as singing of mass, placebo, and dirige, and all other 
prayers over or for the dead, are not only superstitious and 
vain, but also are idolatry, and do repugne to the plain 
Scriptures of God." The conclusion is : " For avoiding 
all inconvenients, we judge it best that neither singing 
nor reading be at the burial; for albeit things sung and 
read may admonish some of the living to prepare them- 
selves for death, yet shall some superstitious and ignorant 
persons ever think that the singing and reading of the 
living do and may profit the dead. And therefore we 
think most expedient that the dead be conveyed to the 
place of burial with some honest company of the Church, 
without either singing or reading — ^yea, without all kinds 
of ceremony heretofore used, other than that the dead be 
committed to the grave with such gravity and solemnity 
as those that be present may seem to fear the judgments 
of God, and to hate sin, which is the cause of death. 
We are not ignorant that some require ane sermon at 
the burial, or else some places of Scripture to be read, 
to put the living in mind that they are mortal, and that 
likewise they must die." But great caution is recom- 
mended, lest words be used that may '^ nourish super- 

BURIAL OF THE DEAD, 1 560-67. 347 

stition and a false opinion." And there is a special 
danger here, that ** either shall the ministers for the 
most part be occupied in preaching funeral sermons, or 
else they shall have respect to persons — preaching at the 
burial of the rich and honourable, but keeping silence 
when the poor or despised departeth." ^ 

So far the Book of Discipline in the ordinary current 
editions. In one version, however, supposed to have 
been specially approved by Knox, there is added after 
the words " they must die," this passage : " And yet, not- 
withstanding, we are not so precise but that we are con- 
tent that particular kirks use tiiem in that behalf, with the 
consent of the ministry of the same, as they will answer to 
God and Assembly of the Universal Kirk gathered within 
the realm." 2 Here is a charitable opening left for that 
innate desire to which the funeral ceremonies and monu- 
mental edifices have testified over all the world — ^the desire 
to scatter affluent honour over the memory of the dead 
out of the overflowing hearts of the living who held them 
dear. Whether under this sanction or not, incidents occur 
which show that funerals were accompanied by pomps 
and ceremonies, which were repressed when the sterner 
Presbyterians had their ascendancy in 1643 ; and there 
are traces of arrangements by some of the local judicatories 
of the Church for methodising a form of funeral service.^ 

^ A Presbyterian divine, explaining the offices of his Church eighty 
years later, says of funeral sermons that they ** do beget superstition 
and tend to flattery, make the Gospel to be preached with respect of 
persons, and are most pressed by such as do least regard sermons at 
other times." — Henderson's Government and Order of the Church of 
Scotland, 28. 
' Laingfs edition of Knox's Works, ii. 250. 

' See ** The Forme and Manner of Buriall usit in the Kirk of Mon- 
trois ; " Wodrow Miscellany, 295. This service contains a dirge, 
sweet and solemn, from the Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs, be- 
ginning — 

" Our brother let va put in grave, 
And na doubt thereof let us have, 
But he shall rise on doomesday, 
And have immortal life for aye. 

He is of earth, and of earth made, 
And man rettun to earth through deid ; 
Syne rise shall frae the earth and ground 
Onhen that the last trumpet shall sound." 


Before leaving the Book of Common Order, it is proper 
to take note of an attempt to extend its benefits to the 
Highlanders. The merit of this attempt will perhaps be 
best understood by looking to the contemporary dealing 
of the English Government with Ireland, where tie Celtic 
element eminently preponderated in the population, in- 
stead of being, as in Scotland, a poor fraction of it It 
was not until the seventeenth century that any book of 
devotion suited for the use of the native Irish was pub- 
lished, and then — ^if such a boon could ever have been 
effective — it came too late. The "vulgar tongue" in 
which, under the Reformation policy, the Irish were to 
worship, was not more understood by them than the 
Chinese, and was only known to be the language of their 
detested Saxon oppressors. The Irish Uniformity Act of 
1560 extended the English Common Prayer-book to Ire- 
land, and ordained that all persons not having any reason- 
able excuse for absence should resort to the churches to 
hear it read. A strange exception in this Act is a signal 
instance of a law declaring its own futility. It is provided 
" that in every chiurch or place where the common minister 
or priest hath not the use of the English tongue " — ^and 
that was everjrwhere beyond the English pale, and over 
much territory within it — the service might be in Latin. ^ 

The "mere Irish" who knew no English may have 
picked up a little Latin firom explanations made by the 
priest on passages in the Breviary. Even where they did 

^ ''It shall be lawful for the same common minister or priest to 
say and use the matins, even-sone, celebration of the Lord's Supper, 
and each of the sacraments, and all their common prayer, in the 
Latin tongue." Yet there is a touch of misgiving that there should 
be sometlung better, if only the English Government could be at the 
trouble and expense of effecting it : '* That if some good means were 
provided that they might use me prayer, service, and administration 
of the sacraments set out and established by this Act, in sudi language 
as they might best understand, the due honours of God should be 
thereby much advanced ; and for that also the same may not be in 
their native language, as well for difficulty to get it printed as that 
few in the whole realm can read the Irish letters.'' — Irish Stat., 2 
Eliz. eh. ii. See a good account of the matter in Kin^s Church 
tlistoiy of Ireland, i 755. 


not understand the meaning of the Latin, it would natu- 
rally have a devotional sound in their ears, though it is 
likdy that whatever feeling of this kind arose would tend 
more towards the old Church than the new. 

In secular matters the Celt of Scotland was scarce less 
harshly treated than the Celt of Ireland ; but it is pleas- 
ant to find that he was not left in the same spiritual desti- 
tution, and that the Saxon Protestant tried in some measure 
to make him a sharer in the privileges of the new faith. 
In 1567 a prayer-book in Highland Gaelic was printed in 
Edinburgh. It was an adaptation of the Book of Com- 
mon Order, by John Carsewell, Bishop of the Isles, being 
a translation of the book " adapted in some cases to the 
peculiar manners of the Highlanders." It has the dis- 
tinction to be the earliest printed book in any of the 
Celtic languages.^ 

If we ask whether, in the new form of religious service, 
there was anything to compensate for the influence on 
the popular mind of the ceremonials and aesthetic appara- 
tus of the old Church, we must be content to find it in 
vocal music The officiating clergyman might or might 
not be gifted with fiery eloquence, but it was always in the 
power of a musically-inclined congregation to enjoy the 
luxury of song in vocal praise. As the forms both of 
the constitution of the Church and its service were taken 

^ Reid, Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica, 43, 44. This author says» 
*' This work is of tmcommon rarity, and is the first Gaelic book 
PRINTED. Only two copies are known to exist." It was said that 
the two had become reduced to one, and then there was a rumour, 
fortunately proving unfounded, that this one had been lost out of the 
Duke of Argyle*s Ubrary at Inverary. There is a copy in the British 
Museum. It is not complete, but it is believed that its imperfections 
might be supplied from a fragment in the library of Edinbuigh 
CoU^e. The title-page is supplied in manuscript from the Biblio- 
theca of Reid, and is ' Foirmna nvrmvidheadh agas freasdal na Sacra- 
muinteadh, agas foirceadul an chreidimh christuidhe andso sios,' &c*' 
The press-mark is C 36 a. It will be satisfactory to those who are 
interested alike in the devotional arrangements of the period and in 
Celtic literature to know that the Rev. Dr Maclauchlan, known for 
his translation of and notes on the Dean of Lismore's Book, and for 
many odier valuable services, has been editing CarsewelPs version of 
the Book of Common Order. 


from the French, so this, so far as it was borrowed, was 
brought from Germany. The Germans and the Scots are 
both a people eminently musical, each with their own 
great and original works in that art In its application to 
vocal praise, the Scots participated with the Germans in 
the grand hymnology of Luther and his followers, still so 
much sung and beloved in their fatherland. We have 
seen that Knox had a congregation in Frankfurt-on-the- 
Main ; and there were many other Scots Protestants in 
different parts of Germany at the period when Reforma- 
tion principles had spread in Scotland, but were neither 
established nor protected. Conspicuous among those 
who planted this Scoto-German school in their native 
land was a family of Wedderbums belonging to Dundee. 
It is true, that both the German and the Scots hymn- 
writers drew fundamentally on the great store of hymns, 
chiefly in monkish Latin, composed by the old Church, 
and that when translations are made from a dead lan- 
guage into two living languages, rising from a common 
Teutonic root, there will naturally be a similarity between 
the two, especially if both be literally exact. But an en- 
thusiastic and accurate critical inquirer has shown coin- 
cidences of a kind only to be accounted for by the one 
translator having received at least an influence from the 

* * The Wedderbums and their Work ; or, The Sacred Poetry of 
the Scottish Reformation in its Historical Relation to that of Ger- 
many. By Alexander F. Mitchell, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, 
St Andrews. 1867.' Here is a specimen :— 

German. Scots. 

" Nun hfirend zu, ihr Christen leut, *' All Christen men take tent and lier, 
wie leyb vnd seel gegnander streyt ; How sauU and body ar at wier^ 

Allhie auff erd in diser zeyt Upon this eird baith lait and eir, 

heVn sie ein stettigs kriegen. With cruell battell identlie, 

keins mag vom andem fiiehen." And ane may nocht ane uther flie." 

The help from the German will be more distinct in some specimens 
of macaronics where there were only patches of Latin, and these had 
to be put together with vernacular words : — 

German. Scots. 

' In dnlci jubilo, Nnn singet und seyd " In duici jubilo. Now let ns ^g witli 
ftoh, mirth and jo. 

THE GODLY SONGS, 1560-67. 35 1 

These godly songs and ballads, as they were called, 
would not in all things be to the mind of orthodox Pres- 
byterians in the present day.^ But there is a very con- 
spicuous and far from reverential feature common to both 
the German and the Scots versions. The old Church 
had a policy for securing the attachment of the most 
ignorant and brutal of the populace by countenancing and 
taking share in popular saturnalia, supposed in great 
measure to be of heathen origin. Such were the Mys- 
teries, and the revolting festivals of the new year. Some- 
what in imitation of this policy, besides the translations 
of the old hymns, it was attempted to subsidise the popu- 
lar ballads and songs of the people to the purposes of de- 
votion. That the national music of Scotland can be 
made as solemn as it is sweet, will become evident to any 
one who hears Tullochgorum, or any other riotous strath- 
spey, slowly performed on the organ. But these inventors 
did not stop with the music. They used the words of the 
ballads with an application the converse of what is called 
travesty. What was of the rude and ribald character was 
parodied into the pious. We cannot speak with precision 
from the experience of the present day on the influence 
that certain agencies may have had three hundred years ago, 
but surely we may believe that religion lost more than it 
gained by this operation.^ The chief merit conceded to 

Unsen hertzen's wonne, liegt in pne- Our beards consolation lyes in prin- 

sepio, ^ cipio, 

Und leuchtet als die sonne, Matris in And schynes as the sunne matris in 

grsemio, gremio. 

Alplui es et Omega, Alpha es et Omega, Alpha es et Omeea, Alpha es et Omega. 

O Jesu parvule, Nach dir ist mir so O Jesu parvule, 1 thirst sore efter Thee; 

weh. Comfort my hart and minde, O puer 
TrOst mir mein gemuthe, O puer op- optime." 


^ For instance, following the name of the Redeemer : — 

" Next Him to luf His mother £sur 
With steadfast heart for ever mair, 
She bore the birth freed us from care." 

' Of the parodies here referred to, the following instances ma) 
suffice !— 

" ' Quho is at my windo ? quho, quho ? 
Go from my windo, go, go ! ^ 
Quho callis thair, sa lyke a strainqair 
Go from my vnndow, go t ' 


it in the present day is, that it has preserved some vesti- 
ges of old Scots music, showing that tunes now known and 
practised are older than the Reformation, and that others 
then popular have since been lost. 

The few existing copies of the * Godly Psalms and 
Spiritual Songs ' have been treated with close and skilful 
criticism.* How many editions they may have appeared 
in is undecided. Old copies of the book are extremely 
rare, and the cause of the rarity evidently is, not because 
few copies were printed, but because the book was so 
popular and so extensively used that the copies of it were 
worn out. Its contents, however, achieved no permanent 
popularity. While they fell into oblivion, sacred music 
did not decrease. The Psalter or " Psalm-book" became 
the great treasury of vocal praise, and the musical genius 

Again — 

' Jjotdf I am heir, ane wretchit mortall, 
That for Thy mercy dois cry and call 
Unto Th^, my Lord celestialL' " 

" With huntia up, with hontis up. 
It is nowpofeit day ; 
Jesus our King is g^e a-hunting, 
Quha lylds to speid thay may. 

Ane cursit fox lay hid in rox 

This lang and mony ane day, 
Devouring^ scheip, quhill he micht crop 

Nane might hun schaip away." 

The cursed fox is of course the Church of Rome. The following h 
perhaps still a stronger specimen : — 

" Johne, cum Ids me now ; 
Tohne, cum Ids me now ; 
Johne, cum Ids me hy-and-hy, 
And make no moir adow. 

The Lord thy God I am 

That Johne does th^ call. 
Johne represendt man 

Be grace celestiall ; 
For Johne God's grace it is 

(Quha list till expone the same) 
Oh Johne, thou did amis 

Quhen that thou loist this name." 

^ Some fragments of the godly son^ were printed by Lord Hailes. 
They were reprinted more roily by Sir John Uraham DalzeU. Who- 
ever desires them in their most accurate form, with the fullest intro- 
duction to their literary history, will consult ' A Compendious Book 
of Psalms and Spiritual Songs, commonly known as the Gude and 
Godlie Ballads,' edited by David Laing, 1868. 

THE CHURCHIjiS, I56p-i6|. 353 

of the religious coxnmimity fotmd suffici^ot ooQupaljio^ in 
adapting all the psalms to congregational use. They were 
adapted to "part-singing" or harmpny.^ Tliis art was 
taught in the chief towns of Scotland in &e "Saog 
Schule/' an institution fitted to go home to the-heevrt of 
the German both in name and purpose. We ha^ye s^ 
instance of th^ influence of this teaching in 158^, whqp 
John Durie, a popular minister, returning from ^ani&h- 
ment, went up Leith Walk in 9, procession of Edinburgh 
citizens, who, as w:e are told, sang the 124th PsalQi '^ tiJi 
heaven and earth resounded.'** 

Before returning from thi3 ecclesiastical digression, to 
follow the course of political events, let us say a word or 
two on the places where the people worshipped. Through- 
out the latt^ half of the sixteenth century we find the 
churches breaking up into that condition of ruin which 
the early Reformers were reputed to hav^ accomplished 
at once. To thqir leaders th^ objects of offence wore 
those which pgjtopk in what they counted idolatry — 
everything connected with the mass and its transubstan- 
tiation ; the crucifi^^es, images, apd pictures which were 
used for breaking th^ second commandment These 
things could not be destroyed by a rough mob without 
other parts of the edifice sufiecing. Buildings beajring the 
marks of mutilation and fi:acture are ever subject tp dis- 
respectful us^e. There was no fund for the protection of 
the edifices, and the State left them to th^ir fate. 

Even in so Cjaxly a voice of the 'new Church as the 
First Book of Discipline, we find an exhortation in terms 
that imply great urgency and need of remedy : " Lest 
that the Word of God and ministration pf the saqr^unenti^) 
by unseemliness of the plac^, come in contempt, of neces- 

- "T  ' . 1 : : 

1 The division into the four parts—" tenor," " treble," " counter,*' 
and " bassus"~does not appear to have been printed in the Bppjc of 
Common Order earlier tluui the year 1635 ; but it had then been 
long in use, the variations being marked off with the pen to save the 
cost of printing. See * The Scottish Metrical Psalter,' by the Rev. 
Neil Livingston, 1864 ; and Mr Macmeeken*s book, cited above. 

' Cidderwood, iii. 346; Melville's Diary, 134. 



sity it is that the churches and places where the people 
ought publicly to convene, be with expedition repaired, in 
doors, windows, thack, and with such preparations within 
as appertaineth as well to the majesty of the Word of God 
as to the ease and commodity of the people. And because 
we know the slothfulness of men in this behalf, and in all 
others which may not redound to their private commodity, 
strait charge and commandment must be given, that within 
a certain day the reparations must be begun, and within 
another day to be affixed by your honours that they be 
finished ; penalties and sums of money must be enjoined, 
and, without pardon, taken from the contemners." ^ 

The lead on the roofs of ecclesiastical buildings was 
coveted by the State for warlike purposes, and there was 
sCn excuse for removing it, as it was disappearing through 
private pillage, and had better be put to use than lost 
In 1568 the lead on the Cathedral of Elgin was so re- 
moved " for the sustentation of the men at war," and the 
same fate befell St Machar's, in Aberdeen.* The clergy, 
instead of welcoming the adversity thus befalling the 
temples of the old worship, were loud in lamentations 
and reproaches, heard by the possessors of the ecclesias- 
tical revenues with supreme indifference. The records of 
the various General Assemblies provide many testimonies 
of this sort ; but perhaps more expressive than any of 
them is this record, from a sermon preached before the 
regent and nobility in 1572 by David Ferguson, minister 
of Dunfermline : " Now to speak of your temples, where 
the Word of God ought to be preadied and the sacra- 
ments ministered. All men sees to what miserable ruin 
and decay they are come ; yea, they are so profaned, that, 
in my conscience, if I had been brought up in Germany, 
or any other coimtry where Christ is truly preached, and 
all things done decently and in order, according to God*s 
Word, and had heard of that purity of religion that is 
among you, and for the love thereof had taken travail to 

^ Laing's edition of Knox's Works, ii. 252. 

• Shaw's Province of Moray, 217 ; Privy Conncil Records. 

THE CHURCHES, 1560-67. 355 

visit this land, and there should have seen the foul defor- 
mity and desolation of your kirks and temples, which are 
mair like to sheep-cots than the houses of God, I could 
not have judged that there had been any fear of God or 
right religion in the maist part of this realm." ^ There is 
abundant testimony that the clergy of the Reformation 
did their best for the preservation and good order of the 
fabrics of the churches. 

* Repriat TJ. 





'Meanwhile the executive government was emphatically 
of that kind which it is usual for history to call '^ vigorous." 
The Border marauders had not felt so heavy a hand on 
them since the days of James IV.; but it was a hand 
guided by a wiser head, which sought to effect real order 
and obedience, instead of wastmg strength in irritating 
petulance and unproductive vengeance. As Throckmor- 
ton said, ** He seeks to imitate rather some which have 
led the people of Israel, than any captain of our age. 
As I can learn, he meaneth to use no dalljring, but either 
he will have obedience for this young king of all Estates 
within this realm, or it shall cost him his life ; and yet I 
see no disposition in him either to bereave the queen of 
her life, or to keep her in perpetual prison. He is resolved 
to defend those lords and gentlemen who have taken this 
matter in hand, though all the princes in Christendom 
would band against them." ^ 

^ Stevenson's Selections, 282. 


The efforts to punish the subordinate actors in the king's 
murder were quickened and strengthened. On the 3d of 
January 1568, Dalgleish and Powrie, young Hay of Talla 
and John Hepburn, were hanged. They were desperate 
men who had set their lives upon a die. They could 
not possibly escape vengeance save through the ultimate 
triumph and irresistible supremacy of their master; but 
he was fleeing for his life, and the poor men felt the crush- 
ing pressure on them to be so absolute that they offered 
no defence or denial. One of them, John Hepburn, 
dropped some remarks, which are touching in themselves, 
and have an apt bearing on the tenor of events. He said, 
"Let na man do evU for counsel of great men or their 
masters, thinking they sail save them ; for surely I thought 
that night that the deed was done, that although know- 
ledge should have been gotten, na man durst have said it 
was evil done, seeing the handwrites [signatures to the 
band], and acknowledging the queen's mind thereto." 
And further, " In the Tolbooth he required John Brand, 
minister of the congregation, to pass to my Lord Lindsay, 
and say, * My lord, heartfully I forgive your lordship, and 
also my lord regent, and all others, but especially them 
that betrayed me to you, as ye will answer before God in 
the latter day, to do your diligence to bring the rest who 
was the beginners of this wark to justice, as ye have done 
to me, for ye knaw it was not begun in my heid.' " ^ 

This pointed at the one great blot in tiie regenf s gov- 
ernment No doubt the victims were tlie practical men 
who had done the deed. Of those who had hands black- 
ened with powder, and clothes torn with clambering 
over walls, justice had sought out all, from the great 
leader himself downwards. If there were others who had 
counselled and promoted the deed, the "band" which 
would have condemned them was destroyed. Yet all the 
world could point them out, and some of them were high 
in place and power. All this is indubitable, yet must it 
depend on the moral atmosphere df the time how heavy 
it is to weigh. It was an occasion when the question of 

' Andersoofs Collections, it 160;, l6l. 


power stood in the path before conscience and duty. To 
close at once with such men as Morton, Lethington, and 
Balfour, would not have been prompt administration of 
justice, but civil war. The task might have been under- 
taken by some fatalist who made no balance of means and 
ends, but went straight to his work, conscious of rectitude 
and confident of success. It might also have been under- 
taken by one less scrupulous than Murray, for the reward 
would have been brilliant. Any man with his pretensions, 
had he broken all the factions in Scotland, and governed 
without their support, must have taken the crown to him- 
self as the trophy of his sword and of his bow, unless, 
indeed, some man still more moderate and scrupulous 
than it is easy to suppose Murray to have been. As mat- 
ters stood, he was somewhat in the position of the diplo- 
matist who has to bully a barbarous potentate for some 
act of tyranny ; the diplomatist knows well what man of 
power commanded the deed, but he must be content to 
see it avenged on some poor underling who did as he was 

Murray went far enough for his own safety towards rais- 
ing hostility. There was a menace in his strength that 
made the unscrupulous uneasy. The Hamiltons saw in 
it a barrier to their prospects. The encouragement he 
gave the Protestant clergy to look to something from the 
ecclesiastical revenues sent a lively alarm to the hearts of 
many powerful men who had recently been enriched by 
happy accidents. It might be said that the nation was 
stagnating into a condition of quiet gloom, when all at 
once it was electrified by the news that Queen Mary had 
escaped from her prison, and was at Hamilton at the head 
of an army. 

We have seen that she was conveyed to Lochleven 
Castle on the 17th of June 1567. She escaped on the 
3d of May 1568, so that she had been a prisoner for a few 
days more than ten months. The nature of the illustrious 
captive's life on this island is hidden in mystery. We 
know nothing about it save in the few revelations which 
she herself was able to send past those who watched 
vigilantly over her. There were eager watchers and in- 

MARY AT LOCHLEVEN, 1567-68. 359 

quirers outside during her abode there. It may be said 
that the same eager curiosity about her prison life there 
has lived down to the present day, and all unsatisfied. In 
the character of what remains of Lochleven Castle there 
is the same almost provoking reticence. It is only like a 
hundred other old feudal houses in Scotland, in revealing 
little or nothing of the way of life of those by whom it was 
inhabited ; but then no one cares to question the others, 
and their silence is of no moment. About this castle, 
however, the world could not be more inquisitive than it 
is, had it been a royal palace rich in historical associations, 
instead of the sordid ruin of a country gentleman's house. 
For the thousands who visit it as a sort of shrine, the half- 
Highland lake and the green ruin on the island have their 
charms as a piece of landscape ; but when we stand among 
the ruins, there is nothing to enlighten us but the common 
narrow square tower of Scotland, with a few fragments of 
minor buildings round it. 

The square tower belongs to a period in which the 
baronial architecture of Scotland is signally inexpressive. 
Gothic decoration had gone, and the French decorations 
of the Renaissance had not yet replaced it in Scotland. 
One well accustomed to the old fortified houses of Scot- 
land would say that this might have been built during any 
part of the hundred years of which one half was before 
and the other after Queen Mary entered it On first 
sight it might be referred to the latter half; but there is a 
feature available to take it back. On three of the angles 
there are machicolated circular projections, which might 
have belonged to turrets with spiral tops of the French 
kind, or might have been merely flanking projections or 
small bastions never roofed. It becomes clear on close, 
inspection that they are of this kind, and that they nat- 
uraJly belong to the period earHer than the introduction' 
of the turret. 

The stranger at Lochleven is surprised to find that what 
is termed a castle has so little of the fortress in it ; but in 
the sixteenth centuiy to be on an island in an inland lake 
was to be strongly fortified. Lochleven Castle could have 
offered no resistance to the ardlleiy even of the early half 


of the sixteenth century. Of the tower still extant, the 
lower floor under ground is vaulted, and so is the second 
Othfer three floors have beett of wood laid on wooden 
raftei*s. Ambitious tourists who look at the narrow space 
within the four thick walls, have an opportunity for reflect- 
ing on the mutability of human things when they figure 
the misttess of the most splendid of European Courts in a 
splendid age doomed to abide in such a dwelling. But 
even on this point the ruins are true to their uncommuni- 
cative character. In fact we know no more from them of 
the method in which the captive was housed and tended 
than "Wq would know if the island had been bare. It was 
b^cau^e it was on an island, not because it was strongly 
built, that the abode of the Douglases was secure. The 
island may have been covered by any amount and kind 
of buildings of stone or even of wood. It is a vain task, 
thei'efore, to argue on the history of the captive's treatment 
from the aspect of the ruins of Lochleven Castle.^ The 

^ Tht author may be charged with a commission of the offence 
which he denounces, in saying so much about this old ruin and the 
revelations that may or may not be drawn from it. His defence is, 
that attempts have been made at considerable length to draw history 
out of these stones. It is necestory here either to accept the history 
so told, or to reject it ; and a few words are required even to show 
that for such a history the material is insufficient. We know that in 
Scotland many islands in inland lakes were places of strength, yet 
few of them contain the remains of baroniaf buildings. Although 
meagre both in decorative and defensive architecture, LodileveM 
CasSe is perhaps the most important remnant of a purely Soots 
island-fortress. Its nearest rival is Loch-an-Eilan, near Kingussie, 
in Invemess'shire. Two other island-fortresses — Dune and Lochiii- 
dorb— are of the architecture called Edwardian, and belong to the 
period of the English domination. On the island of Inchmahome, 
where QAeen Marv in her infancy was placed for safety during the 
English iikvasioii, the buildings were monastic, yet they were selected 
for their seoureness. M. Lamartine thus dtes the authority of one 
who, as he says, had visited Lochleven : ** The sojourn at Lochleven, 
over which romance and poetry have shed their light, must be de- 
picted by history only in its nakedness and horrors. The castle, or 
rather fortress, is a massive block of granite flanked by heavy towers, 
peopled by owls and bats, eternally bathed in mists, and defended t^ 
the waters of the lake." — Mary Stuart, by Alphonse de Lamartine, 
73. The material of which the castle was buUt is perhaps of little 
Dionfexit ; bat if it be #orth while being particalar aoout it, it is also 

MARY AT LOCHLEVEN, 1567-68. 36I 

builcUng is now dreary and comfortless in its age ; and if 
that be a feature associated with the treatment of the cap- 
tive, it is but just to remember that if old now it was once 
new. From what has just been said it must have been but 
recently built when Queen Mary lived in it, or in a build- 
ing beside it, at a time when Lochleven Castle was the 
residence of a powerful baron and his wife. The con- 
clusion of all is, that there is nothing in the conditions 
to justify the inference that the captive was to be sent 
thidier as to a place of sordidness and severity, as well as 
of seclusion and security. In any stronghold not upon 
an island she must have been subject to more restraint ; 
for it was not in Scotland, as afterwards in England, where 
she could go forth attended by a retinue, and even join 
the hunt. She was, however, in the most civilised district 
of Scotland, with the comforts and luxuries of the age 
dose at hand. The three chief towns, Edinburgh, Glasgow, 
and Perth, were not far off. The Fifeshire seaports, then 
carrying on a brisk trade in wines and other French im- 
ports, were still nearer : the chief among them, Inverkei- 
thing, lay but a moderate walk from Lochleven. Close by 
was a mountain district abounding in game. The lake 
supplied water-fowl, and its trouts are yet renowned 
among anglers as unmatched by any others in the British 

Her keeper, the widow Lady Douglas, by profession a 
Protestant, the mother of the illegitimate regent, might be 
supposed unlikely to show favour to the Popish woman 
who had inherited the crown of James V. The days were 
when she herself looked to be Queen of Scotland ; and 
she saw a son arise to her who would have been the 
greatest king Scotland had seen since the days of Robert 
Bruce. By a succession of strange and criminal calamities, 
the actual office of King of Scots, though not its title, had 
fallen to that son, the offspring of her guilt or weakness. 
All these things might naturally accompany the story of a 

worth while being accurate. The stone is not granite. The district 
belongs to the sandstone formation, and the castle was natnrany bnQi 
of the native moterial. 


lovely victim to a cruel jaileress. There is no evidence, 
however, that the lady of Lochleven treated her prisoner 

Much vigilance was necessary, nevertheless, and that 
could not be accomplished without giving annoyance and 
even pain. The daughters of the house shared the prisoner's 
bed. To one who had enjoyed full command over the 
stately reserve of the Court of France, and the impregnable 
barrier of isolation which it had put at her disposal, this 
may have been a heavy grievance ; it can be paralleled only 
by the sufferings of people accustomed to civilised refine- 
ment when their lot is cast among barbarians. If there 
be something in the arrangement that jars with the sense 
of the decorous and appropriate, it is not removed by 
remembering the connection between the family and the 
queen's father. But in defence of this, as well as of 
worse things, there was the hard logic of political necessity. 
We have the record of the grievance in a letter which, 
despite the vigilance of the sisters, she was able to write 
to her mother-in-law, Catherine of Medici, and to send by 
a trusty messenger who could tell more than the letten^ 
Except, indeed, in what she herself revealed in her acts or 
her writings, the secret of her prison-house was well kept. 
In matter of authentic history it is almost an entire blank, 
although the rumours of the day, and the traditions in- 
vented and believed in later times, have thickly peopled 
it with incidents. 

One of these stories imported that her last marriage was 
not unfruitful; that during her imprisonment she gave 
birth to a daughter, who was afterwards known as a mem- 
ber of a religious sisterhood in France, the house of Notre 
Dame of Soissons. Though this has been repeated in 
several shapes, the evidence on which they all rest is 
traced back to two rather inefficient sources. The one is 
a casual assertion by a French man of letters who was not 
bom until more than half a century after the escape from 
Lochleven, so that his story is only to be held as a 

^ Labaoofi^ ii. 69. 

MARY AT LOCHLEVEN, 1567-68. 363 

tradition of the seventeenth century.^ The other item 
brought to strengthen this is an assertion by Throckmorton, 
how it was explained to him on behalf of Queen Mary, as 
her reason for refusing to divorce Bothwell, that she had 
expectation of offspring of her marriage with him, and she 
would not do that which might bring in question the 
legitimacy of her child. He does not tell in what shape 
this was communicated to him — ^whether it was by writing 
or by message. It comes mixed up with the frequent 
allusions to her frantic determination to adhere to the 
object of her passion, and it would be easy to suppose that 
friendly tongues would desire to attribute her determination 
to such a motive.* That a child should have been bom 

^ Following the narrative of the execution at Fotheringay is this 
passage : " Pour clorre Thistoire de Marie Sfuart, apr^s avoir dit 
qu'ell eut du Comte de Bothuel, son troisi^e maiy, une fille qui fut 
Religieuse k N. Dame de Soissons ; je remarqueray que les beaux 
esprits du temps de son premier veuvage firent deux Anagrammes sur 
son nom, au sujet de la mort du Roy Fran9ois II., son mary, toutes 
deux tr^ complettes ; car dans le nom retoum^ de Marie Stuart, on 
trouve, Tu te tnarieras^ ce qui arriva, et Tu as martyre: et cela ne 
fut encore que trop veritable." — M^moires de Michel de Castelnau, 
additions, 1. 64S. Had the assertion been made by Castelnau 
himself, it would have stood on the authority of one who had the 
confidence of Queen Mary, and was indeed one of her safest friends ; 
but it stands only on the authority of La Laboureur, the editor and 
continuer of Castelnau's Memoirs; and all the repetition, more or 
less positive, that has since been given to it, will not strengthen that 
fiail foundation. See the references to these repetitions in Michel, 
Les Ecossais en France, ii. 66. 

' The following is the passage : it will be observed that Throck- 
morton uses the verb ''persuade " in the meaning in which we would 
now use ''advise : '* "I nave also persuaded her to conform herself to 
renounce Bothwell for her husband, and to be contented to suffer a 
divorce to pass betwixt them. She hath sent me word that she will 
in no wise -consent unto it, but rather die, grounding herself upon 
this reason, that taking herself to be seven weeks gone with child, by 
renouncing Bothwell £e should acknowledge hersdf to be with child 
of a bastard, and to have forfeited her honour, which she will not dp 
to die for it." — Throckmorton to Queen Elizabeth, i8th July 1567 ; 
Stevenson's Selections, 221. This letter is also in Principal Robert- 
son's Appendix, No. xxii. In a letter to Queen Elizabeth, 27th Jan. 
1569, Mary says, "Consid^rez je suis inb'e et d'un seul enfant" 
— Labanofi, ii. 288. She had here no motive to conmiit herself to 
mch an assertion, save to give a touch of pathos to her pleading. 


to her in Lochleven, should have been removed to France, 
and should there have lived to maturity, — that these events 
should have occurred in that vigilant suspicious age 
without leaving a vestige of a whisper about them in the 
correspondence or memoirs of the time, is a thing hard to 
be believed. 

We have seen that a queen's party had been gathering 
themselves together, and there were many conjectures and 
rumours as to the method in which they would strike a 
blow for her release. Besides the island containing the 
castle, there are others in Lochleven. On one stood the 
Monastery of St Serf, probably at that time newly deserted 
— an old house of the Culdees, in which, long subsequent 
to their day, Wyntoun wrote his Chronicle. It was sup- 
posed that if her keepers could be wiled to let her join a 
hawking-party there, it would be easy for a force with 
small boats, borne by them to the loch, to cany her off. 
A bolder design was to bring overland upon waggons from 
the Firth of Forth vessels sufficient to carry a party to 
storm the castle. She owed more, however, to the active 
emplo3rment of her own subtle apparatus of fascination 
among her enemies than to the heroic devotion of her true 
knights. The rumours of the time are full of uneasy sus- 
picions concerning the fall of one after another of those 
about her under the witchery of her blandishments. Those 
that might be deemed farthest removed from doubt were 
not exempt from it, as, for instance, the old Lady Douglas 
herself. It is certain that of her family circle one at least 
was enslaved — her son, George Douglas. What hopes she 
may have allured him to entertain cannot be known, but 
the gossip of the day raised them to a dizzy height^ Then 

* Sir William Drury, writing to Cecil on 3d April, and telling 
what he can gather about a second interview between Murray and the 
captive, says : "At the first she burdened him with the rigour that 
was used unto her in this last Parliament ; and he answered that he 
and the rest of the nobility could do nothing less for their wn surety, 
in respect they had enterprised to put her into captivity. From that 
she entered into another purpose, being marriage, piaying she might 
have a husband, and named one to her Uking — Geoige Douglas, 
brother to the I-Aird of Lochleven ; unto which the earl replied that 

MARY AT LOCHLEVEN, 1567-68. 365 

imagination had been so heated by the stiange events 
passing before men's eyes, that a new romance of love 
and crime was sketched. It had a long vitality. A cen- 
tury afterwards, a certain bold Presbyterian divine, named 
Robert Douglas, served as chaplain to the Scots troops in 
the army of Gustavus Adolphus. A mystery hung over 
his birth and origin, but he was believed to be the grand- 
son of George Douglas and Maiy Queen of Scots.^ 

All now really known of the relations of these two while 
they were within the castle is, that the enslavement of 
Douglas was so conspicuous as to make his removal neces- 
sary. He thus brought his knowledge of affairs within 
to the aid of those who were laying plans for a rescue from 
without It came to the ears of Sir William Drury, while 
he commanded the garrison at Berwick, that with the aid 
of Douglas an attempt to escape had been all but success- 
ful on the 25th of March. Drury's story has in later times 
been told in many shapes, all competing with each other 
in giving a tone of picturesqueness to ikcts held as un- 
doubted. The only fact we know, however, is that Drury, 
greedy of every morsel of news from Lochleven that had 
a chance of being true, thought this worthy of being re- 
tailed to Cecil. Hence tiiis only fact cannot be so well 
told in any other way as in its own words, which make a 
very clear story : — 

<< Upon the 25th of the last she enterprised an escape, 
and was the rather nearer effect tiirough her accustomed 
long lying in bed all the morning. The manner of it was 
thus : There cometh in to her laundress early, as at other 
times, before she was wanted ; and the queen, according 
to such a secret practice, putteth on her the weid of the 

he was over-mean a maniage for her grace.'* — Keith, ii. 7S9. This, 
like many other passages in the letters of the day, can only be oomited 
a piece of current rnmour. 

^ Wodrow Analecta, i. 166. Were it worth while, it could be 
shown that between this tradition and that about BothwelFs offspring, 
the establishment of the truth of one must of necessity establish the 
falsity of the other. Geoige Douglas must have been removed on 
account of his infatuation about the time when the dates would show 
that Bothwell's daughter was bom. 


laundress, and so, with the fardel of clothes, and hei 
muffler upon her face, passeth out, and entereth the boat 
to pass the loch ; which after some space, one of them 
that rowed said, merrily, * Let us see what manner of dame 
this is,' and therewith offered to pull down her muffler, 
which to defend she put up her hands, which they spied 
to be very fair and white ; wherewith they entered into 
suspicion whom she was, beginning to wonder at her 
enterprise. Whereat she was little dismayed, but charged 
them, upon danger of their lives, to row her over to the 
shore ; which they nothing regarded, but eftsoons rowed 
her back again, promising her that it should be secreted, 
and especially from the lord of the house under whose 
guard she lieth. It seemeth she knew her refuge, and 
where to have found it if she had once landed ; for there 
did and yet do linger at a little village called Kinross, hard 
at the loch-side, Sie same George Douglas, one Sempil 
and one Beaton — the which two were some time her trusty 
servants, and, as yet appeareth, they mind her no less 
affection." ^ 

George Douglas had left behind him in the castle a 
trusty assistant. He has been sometimes called "the 
little Douglas," sometimes *' Willy Douglas," or, as Mary 
wrote it in her French manner, " Volly Douglas." Whether 
he was of kin to the Lochleven family is not known. He 
was only eighteen years old. If his youth exempted him 
from the usual precautions and suspicions, a great blunder 
was committed; for he was precisely at t£e age when 
feats such as his are achieved with greatest facility.^ He 

^ Keith, ii. 790. 

* There is evidence that she remembered Willy Douglas, and showed 
a keen interest in his destiny at a critical juncture to her own. In one 
of those letters of instruction to her commissioners in England, in 
which she is wavering and incoher<ent about the accusations brought 
against her, she turns suddenly to a rumour that he had been *' tint," 
or lost, after getting a' passport from Queen Elizabeth. She vehe- 
mently suspects that her rebel subjects have done him wrong, and im- 
plores her sister queen to see to his safety, and ** that she suffer him 
not to be treated in that manner in her realm, so near her Court, being 
under her protection, — wha set us to libertie and ssdffit our life, doing 
the act of ane venturous and faithful subject to his sovereign and nat- 

THE ESCAPE, 1568. 367 

managed, unnoticed, to get possession of the chief keys, 
after the castle had been closed for the night. He then 
escorted the queen through the gates, locking them as he 
passed each. He seized one of the boats always at hand, 
and, as it would appear, had disabled the others. When 
she touched the shore, she found her lover George Douglas, 
her faithful follower the Lord Seton, and a few others. 
All rapidly mounted and rode off. Their first point was 
the Castle of Niddry, near Linlithgow, belonging to Seton. 
The distance is, in a straight line, about twenty miles ; and 
what it proved to the riders must have depended on the 
point at which they were able to cross the Firth. From 
Niddry she sent a messenger to the Court of England to 
ask assistance. If he were unsuccessful, he was to go on 
to Paris and ask it there. Next day the number of fol- 
lowers increased, and all rode to Hamilton Palace, where 
they might be considered safe from any immediate risk of 

An event like this has ever been known in history as 
the most potent stimulant of a languid party. No sum- 
mons of array could have carried to every partisan with 
such instantaneous velocity the command to rise and arm. 
So speedily did the adherents gather, that their concen- 
tration seemed not merely the assembling of a party, but 
the reaction of a people. Among the chiefs, besides Seton 
and the Hamiltons, were Herries, Somerville, Argyle, 
Cassilis, Fleming, Ross, Eglinton, and Rothes. They 
had soon around them six thousand men in fighting array. 
Hamilton Palace had the aspect of a Court well guarded 
by troops. The group received lustre from the presence 

oral princess. ** She expresses uneasiness about the threats of a certain 
James Drysdale, a retainer of the family of Lochleven, who ''being 
evil content of the good service whilk the said William did unto us, 
said, in presence of some of our servants, that if ever he met with 
him he should put his hands in his heart-blood, whatever might fol- 
low thereupon ; and as tQ us, he should give us to the heart with ane 
whinger ; whereupon ye shall solicit our good sister that the said 
Drysdale be made fast, in consideration of the premises — he knows 
what is become of the said William. "—Labanoff, ii. 264. This will 
recall some incidents in the * Abbot,' and show what suggested thetn 


of De Baumont, the French ambassador. He had been 
sent as a person of higher distinction than Lignerolles, 
and therefore more likely to be well received. He made 
no better speed with the regency. They refused to give 
him access to the queen ; but now he was happy in attend- 
ing her without their permission. 

Of what passed at Hamilton during the short busy 
period now begun, many things have unfortunately found 
their way into history which have no contemporary sup- 

The opportunity was taken to revoke the queen's abdi- 
cation, with all the business that had followed upon it 
As it happened, all that was thus done at Hamilton passed 
away in empty words ; but had the end been otherwise, 
the procee(Ungs there would have resolved themselves into 
formal documents, declaring the nullity of the abdication 
on the part of the queen, and giving the sanction of hex 
assembled retainers as that of a Parliament, revoking the 
Acts of the Parliament which had met in January, and 
pronoimcing it an illegal assemblage. 

We know farther that two messengers or ambassad(«s 
were sent southwards— one to represent Queen Mary at 
the Court of England, the other to pass through England 
to France, and tibere solicit succour to her cause. Mur- 
ray was. then at Glasgow ; and we find Cecil receiving in- 
formation that, immediately on the arrival of the queen 
and her party, a message was sent to him requiring him 
to resign his authority to his lawful sovereign, but at the 
same time informing him that the past would be forgotten, 
and all who had offended against her would be pardoned. 
Murray, it appears, sent a message to ascertain whether 
this proposal really had been authorised by his sister; 
whether that he had actual doubts on the matter, or 
merely desired to gain time.^ His action, however, was 
prompt On the day of the arrival at Hamilton, the 3d 
of May, a proclamation was issued, calling on all the feu- 
datories of the Crown and others to meet him at Glasgow, 
armed and accoutred according to their feudal duty, stat- 

* Sir William Drury to Cecil, 7th May 1568 ; Keith, ii. 804. 

THE ESCAPE, 1568. 369 

ing as a reason that their sovereign's mother had escaped 
and gathered together certain of his liege subjects at 
Hamilton ; " for what purpose it is uncertain, but, as is 
supposed, by the convoy and counsel of wicked persons, 
enemies to his highness and his authority, and all quietness 
within this realm." ^ He apprehended and imprisoned 
a pursuivant who came to Glasgow to proclaim the queen, 
and sent to Stirling for cannon.^ 

Murra/s sojourn in Glasgow was for the purpose of 
presiding at a session of justiciary for the trial of criminals. 
He had adopted it as a policy of his rigid government to 
attend the courts and give his high countenance to their 
administration of justice. In the military sense he was 
unprotected, and by a dash at Glasgow — only ten miles 
distant from Hamilton — the regent, and probably a few 
other persons of importance, might have been easily 
seized. Had there been any spirit of reaction through- 
out the country in favour of Mary, a blow that would 
have at once roused it was the obvious alternative ; but 
the policy adopted — and it seems to have been the only 
tenable one — ^was to hold out until assistance came from 
England or France. In the mean time the group of ad- 
herents daily increased. Following up the peculiar national 
practice, of which we have seen so many instances, they 
bound themselves to co-operation and support by a bond 
or band. This document was signed on the 8th of May 
by nine titular bishops of the old Church, by eighteen 
lords of Parliament, and by a large body of minor barons 
and landowners. The bond was in this case peculiar for 
the earnest terms in which it stipulates that the parties 
to it shall abandon or compromise their separate objects 
of contention, and unite in the common cause.* In fact, 
in that assemblage, which appeared to be a compact body 
of loyal enthusiasts, there was a large element of disunity, 
or at least of inertness. The Hamiltons, who seemed its 
soul and centre, were really in that condition which is the 
most fatal to the achievement of any bold stroke — ^they 

* Keith, Appendix, No. xxyI. • Drury, ut sup. 

^ See the bond in Keith, ii. 807. 

VOL. IV. 2 A 


had no direct object to strike for. Whatever ended in 
a firm and permanent government was inimical to their 
interests. The young king, with Murray as regent, was 
not a satisfactory prospect ; but the re-establishment c^ 
the queen was little better. Thus there was a partial 
paralysis at the head, and there was little of capacity 
among the more eminent followers to redeem this loss.^ 

There was one place where the escape and the gather- 
ing at Hamilton were hailed with great joy — the Coturt of 
Queen Elizabeth. The course to be taken, after Throck- 
morton returned baffled and almost insulted, had reached 
a climax of difficulties, and now all of them seemed to be 
solved by the propitious event. It happened that on the 
3d of May, the day after the escape, but before it could 
have been known in London, Cecil had drawn up a sketch 
of the proper course to be taken by the English Govern- 
ment. It bears in its extreme brevity and distinctness the 

* Throckmorton, in a letter to Cecil of 20th August 1567 — ^flie 
flame in which he describes the aim, purposes, and resources of the 
regent — ogives us this animated sketch of some members of the other 
party : — 

" As for the Hamiltons and their faction, their conditions be such, 
their behariour so inordinate, the most of them so unable, their Cving 
so yidoBS, their fidelity so fickle, their party so weak, as I eount it 
k>st whatsoever is bestowed upon them. Shortly you are like to 
have with you an handsome yotmg man of that surname, named 
John Hamilton, to procure to set you on fire to get some money 
amongst them to countenance their doings, which serve little for our 
purpose. The Lord Herries is the cunning horse-leech, and the 
wisest of the whole faction ; but, as the Queen of Scotland saith of 
him, there is nobody can be sure of him : he taketh pleasure to bear 
aU the world in hand. We have good occasion to be well ware of 
him. Sir, you remember how he handled us when he delivered 
Dumfries, Caerkveroc, and the Harmitage unto our hands— he made 
us believe all should be ours to the Forth ; and when we trusted him 
best, how he helped to chase us away, I am sure you have not for- 
gotten. Here, amongst his own countrymen, he is noted to be the 
most cautious man of his nation. It may like you to remember he 
suffered his own hostages, the hostages of the Lairds of Lochinvar 
and Garlies^ his next neighbours and friends, to be hanged for pio- 
mise broken by him. This much I speak of him because he is the 
Ukelyest and most dangerous man to enchant you.'' — Stevenson's 
Selections, 282. John Hamilton, the ''handsome young man," is 
perhaps the adventurous roan already mentioned, p. 312 

THE ESCAPE, 1568. J71 

sense of difficulties that have reached a crisis, and must 
be conquered by prompt action. It starts with the text 

" If the French power restore the Queen of Scots, then 
shall Scotland be more at commandment of the French, 
and especially of the house of Guise, than ever it was." 
Thus will England again have for its closest neighbour a 
kingdom where Popery is the established religion, and 
the government policy is dictated from France. And the 
dai^er of such a consummation is not merely £r(Hn with- 
out. It will stir the adherents of the old religion in Eng- 
land, ''whereof it is to be feared that the number is 
greater than were meet to be known." The remedy is 
for Elizabeth frankly and effectively to take into her own 
hand the restoration of Queen Mary, stipulating that no 
French force is to be petmitted to cooperate in the ser- 
vice ; and this is foUowed by practical suggestions for the 
intercepting of any armament sent from France. One 
passage is intentionally mysterious, and tempts to grave 
speculations as to something understood but. not expressed: 
" If neither the Queen of l^ts will forbear to take the aid 
of France, nor France forbear to give it, then it is manifest 
what were the speedy way to remedy the whole matter, 
both to relieve the Queen of Scots, and make quietness in 

The last item in this State paper recalls the spirit of 
events long past : " Note, it belongeth of very right to 
the crown of England to give order as to dissensions 
moved for the crown of Scotland." ^ This was for home 
consideration, and not to find its way into the diplomatic 
correspondence with Scotland. It recalled the old claim 
of superiority. In fact every member of the English Go- 
vernment believed that there lay among the records in 
the Tower unquestionable evidence of the feudal vassal- 
age of Scotland ; and this belief ever — ^as we have seen 
and shall yet see — influenced the policy erf England, 
though it was not convenient to reveal it to the othei 

^ StCTOuioii's Selections^ ^ot^ 


There seems to have been no hesitation about the 
course to be adopted after the escape. The heavy task 
of bringing the Scots to a sense of their duty was greatly 
lightened, and France must be anticipated in its fulfilment 
Thomas Leighton was sent as messenger or ambassador to 
Queen Mary, with full and hearty instructions. If Queen 
Mary would accept of her sistefs intervention, and agree 
to be guided by her, without seeking assistance from any 
foreign power, " she shall then be assured that we will 
have the principal regard to her state, so as her subjects 
may be reduced to acknowledge their duties without 
shedding of blood or trouble of her realm ; and if they 
will not yield to reason by treaty or persuasion, we will 
give to her such aid as shaU be requisite to compel them." 
There are some persuasive reasons given why the Queen 
of Scots should concur in the conclusion, that of all the 
potentates of Europe her neighbour the Queen of England 
is the one to whom it must naturally and jusUy fall to 
interpose, and bring the troubles of Scotiand to a happy 
end ; but no hint is dropped about the claim of homage.^ 

The bearer of these instructions did not find the queen 
to whom he was accredited. Her followers naturally 
looked around for some stronger position than Hamilton. 
Dunbar Castle had been acquired by the regent, and the 
queen's party attempted to regain it, but failed. Dum- 
barton, held by the Lord Fleming, was the next recourse. 
It involved a march close by Glasgow; but as the queen's 
force was the larger of the two, it was resolved to take this 
risk. The Hamiltons have been blamed for recommend- 
ing it with a treacherous piupose. It was a critical mo- 
ment for the regent, but he decided that the best policy 
was to fight. 

The queen's force was estimated at 6000 men, the other 
at 4500. But Murray had a great preponderance of mili- 
tary capacity. He was himself a tried soldier in the home 
wars, and had others such to assist him, as Morton, Semple, 

^ See the instructions in Keith, ii. 801. It may be noted that Eng- 
lish statesmen were not unanimous in cotmting the escape a propitious 
event. Throckmorton especially, who knew Scotland, augnred ** ill 
of it." — See correspondence ; Teulet, ii. 204 et seq. 


Home, and Lindsay ; further, he had Kirkcaldy of Grange, 
a leader of European renown, who had fought both at 
home and abroad. To him the regent confided duties like 
those of a modem aide-de-camp, with a wider discretion 
to act on his own judgment On the 13th of May the 
queen's army began to march along the south bank of the 
Clyde towards Dumbarton. On a height about two miles 
southward from Glasgow stood, and still stands, the village 
of Langside. A sight of this village, on a stroll from Glas- 
gow, shows that in the question of forcing a passage from 
Hamilton to Dumbarton, the critical struggle must be 
here. It seems to have been then, as now, a cluster of 
houses on either side of the main road where \t crosses a 
hill. We may at once judge that the queen was ill sup- 
ported by military capacity when the post was not seized 
and held before she began her journey. 

When it was seen from Glasgow that, without any pre- 
paration, the queen's party were to pass through the village 
by the highroad, the tactic of the day was instantly chosen. 
Kirkcaldy, who commanded the horse, sent two hundred 
troopers, each with a marksman behind him, through the 
river. There was a race for this critical spot ; but the 
marksmen gained, and were quickly posted among the 
houses and behind the walls and fences. The queen's 
troops, commanded by Argyle, formed on a small hill 
towards the east of the village. They had with them six- 
teen cannon ; but these seem to have played to no eflfect, 
since they could do little harm to the marksmen under 
cover, and could not reach the main force of the regent's 
party, which had been drawn up westward of the village. 
It was determined that the vanguard, led by Lord Arbroath, 
should try to storm the village and force a passage. The 
heavy-armed men in the front rank were met by a like 
body from the regent's army, and a scene characteristic of 
the warfare of the age followed. The tactic that the game 
of war is gained by rendering the warrior impregnable in 
an iron case had reached the height of its completeness 
and absurdity, and was to give place to the reactionary 
theory that the first object of all the apparatus of war is 
the destruction of the enemy. Each line of spears finally 


Stuck in the angles and joints of the mail of the opposite 
rank, and the battle was a mere trial of superior weight 
and pressure. Thus across the path were two walls of 
iron, with human beings enclosed in each, striving in yain 
at motion and effective action. They not only could not 
assail each other, but were a barrier preventing ihe residue 
of each army from joining battle. An eyewitness records 
the frantic efforts of those behind to assail their enemy 
with broken weapons, stones, and other hand-missiles, and 
describes how some of these, fell and lay on the crossed 
spears as on a platform.^ While those behind had no 
better occupation than this, marks of unsteadiness were 
observed by the regent's force among those on the queen's 
side, and Grange charging them, they broke and fled. 
" There were not many horsemen," says the same eye- 
witness, " til pursue after them, and the regent cried to 
save and not slay ; and Grange was never cruel, so that 
there were but a few slain and tain." ' It was said that 
three hundred were killed on the losing side, while the 
other only lost one man. The affair lasted but for three- 
fourths of an hour. In the number engaged, and the 
nature of the contest, it was of the character of a mere 
skirmish ; but the conditions in which it was fought ren- 
dered it a decisive battle. It settled the fate of Scotland, 
affected the future of England, and had its influence over 
all Europe. 

The queen, when she saw the fate of the day, galloped 
off frantically. A second time the exciting events of which 
she was the centre had broken in upon her self-command. 
She fled from her friends as well as her enemies so heed- 
lessly, leaving all behind, that it is impossible to identify 
the course she took ; and there are doubts about the place 
where she first found refuge. She is generally said to have 

* The order on the rmnt's side — ^not easily interpreted with cer- 
ttin^— W8S " to let die adversaries lay down first their mars, to bear 
ap theirs ; while spears were sa thick fixed in others' jaocs, that some 
ot the flacons, pistoUs, and gr^t staves that were thrown bv them that 
were behind, might be seen lying upon the spears.*' — Sir James Md* 
▼ille's Memoirs. 

> Ihid.. aos. 


ridden straight to Dundrennan Abbey; but that is up- 
wards of a hundred miles from Langside.^ The author of 
the Memoirs of Lord Herries says she was accompanied 
by himself, his son, Lord Livingston, Lord Fleming, George 
Douglas, and Willy, the hero of the escape, and that ** she 
rode all night, and did not rest until she came to the 
Sanquhar. From thence she went to Terregles, the Lord 
Herries's house, where she rested some few days." * She 
said in her appeal to Queen Elizabeth that she rode sixty 
miles on the first day of her flight ; and allowing for indi- 
rect roads, it is easy to suppose the journey firom Glasgow 
to Sanquhar prolonged to that distance, according to 
modem measurement. The journey onwands to Terregles 
would add other thirty miles at least It must have been 
to this journey that she referred, though the context makes 
her speak of England, in that letter, fiill of sorrows, to her 
uncle the cardinal, in which she says she had suffered 
hunger, cold, and fear ; had fled, she. knew not whither, 
fourscore and twelve miles across the country, without 
once alighting; had slept "sur la dure;" had to drink 
sour milk, and feed on oaten meal ; and had been three 
nights like the owls.* She resolved to pass over to Eng- 
land. Whether this was under or against die advice she 
received, or whether she received any, cannot be deter- 
mined. Herries, we know, was with her ; for he wrote, 
announcing her intention, to the deputy-captain of Carlisle, 
desiring to know whether, if the Queen of Scots might 
seek refuge in England, she could safely go to that 
fortress. The astounded deputy, explaining that his prin- 
cipal was at Court, answered tibiat this was too high a 
question for him to determine, but he would send first to 
Court for instructions ; and if the queen came, he would 
meet her, and protect her imtil he received further instruc- 
tions from Court. But before even the deputy's provisional 
answer could be received she had gone. On the i6th she 

^ In Labanoff 's CoUection there is a letter to Qaeen Elizabeth 
aat€d ** De Dundrennan, 15 May 156S'' ^L 71) ; but it is taken from 
a printed collection of the seventeenth century, and its anthority may 
be doubted. 

> P. 105. > Labanofif. iL 118. 


embarked in an open fishing-boat, with Hemes and some 
eighteen or twenty other " persons " — they are not called 
attendants — and landed on the same day at Workington, 
in Cumberland.^ 

Much eloquence has been expended in denouncing this 
flight into England as an act of consummate folly. But 
it was one of those occasions in which reasoning plays no 
part It was the occasion of a hunted creature seeking 
immediate safety, and finding it at the nearest available 
point without any weighing of future results. A common 
impression has found its way into history, that there was 
a popular reaction in her favour ; but this lacks evidence. 
Her flight, both in its first stage from Lochleven to Hamilton, 
and thence to the Solway, was in its character the flight of 
one ever surrounded by enemies. There was no refuge save 
where the " feudal influence pf her attendant Herries pro- 
cured it No doubt the news of her escape gave a power- 
rul impulse to her friends ; but it does not follow that it 
converted her enemies. It has been said, and repeated 
in later histories, that many passed over from the regent's 
to the queen's party while they were gathering round 
Hamilton ; but we have no contemporary authority nam- 
ing those who did so. We have the names of the " nine 
earls, nine bishops, eighteen lords, and others," including 
about a hundred lairds or lesser barons, who signed the 
" band ** for the queen at Hamilton ; and if there were 
signal deserters among them, they might be identified. 
All the bishops are on the list except some who had gone 
abroad, and the Bishop of Orkney, who had become Pro- 
testant They were in their natural place as the spiritual 
champions of the holy Catholic Church. Among these 
the only one requiring to be specially accounted for is 
the Bishop of Galloway, who professed to join the new 
Church, but did not receive so welcome a reception with- 
in it as he desired.^ Among the lords, the name that 
one would least expect to find in such a group is that 
of Argyle, familiar in association and co-operation with 
Murray, Morton, and Lethington; but he had parted 

^ Cecil's Narrative ; Anderson, iv. i. * See above, ch. xlix. 


company with his allies on the question of the queen's 
imprisonment. Others — ^such as Cassilis, Boyd, Eglinton^ 
Montrose, and Caithness — are to be found among those 
who united to release the queen from Bothwell, and bring 
the murderers of her husband to justice ; but the deposi- 
tion and imprisonment of the queen, whether secretly 
contemplated or not, were not then among the projects 
openly avowed.^ 

On the prevailing powers of Scotland she had no more 
hold than at the time when it was hard work for the more 
moderate among them to save her life. That was a 
policy not to be repeated. They thought they had her 
securely in bonds both moral and practical ; but she had 
burst through all, and proved that there was no safety to 
her enemies while she lived. She had taken that awful 
position in which she must crush her enemies or they 
must crush her. When her friends gathered round her at 
Hamilton, her chance lay in holding out until succour 
came from England — still better should it come from 
France. But as the game had gone, there was nothing 
for her in Scotland but an ignominious death. She had 
reason to expect a good reception from Queen Elizabeth, 
and had she entered English soil in a different fashion, 
her expectations might have had a secure foundation. 
It was among the instructions to the messenger whom 
Mary never received, that he should convey to Murray 
and his friends a request, approaching in its terms to a 
command, that both parties should be "advised and 
ruled" by her "in all matters stirred up betwixt the 
queen and them ; " and to tell both parties that in the 
mean time she thought good " that all force do cease on 
both parts, and no new collection of power." With these 

1 The leading parties to the band for the queen, besides the Ham- 
iltons, were the Lords of Argyle, Huntly, Eglinton, Seton, Crawford, 
Cassilis, Rothes, Montrose, Sutherland, Enrol, Fleming, Livingston, 
Boyd, Somerville, Herries, Ross, Ogilvie, Oliphant, Borthwick, 
Sanquhar, Yester, Drummond, Elphinston, and Sinclair, with the 
Lairds of Lochinvar, Johnston, Wemyss, Dalhousie, Femiehurst, 
Closebum, Traquair, Balweary, Clackmannan, Banff, Haddo. and 


conditions accepted, Queen Mary might have been wel- 
come in England as a refugee seeking safety imtil hei 
sister had established an armed force in Scotland suffi- 
cient to cany out the arrangement that seemed good to 

It was destined that this was not the shape she was 
to take as a refugee; but such as it was, there was no 
choice. What might have been effected by a more delib- 
erate retreat — ^if she had not lost head and fled outright — 
it is hard to say ; but, unprotected on the Border, her one 
chance of immediate safety to her life was to get within 
EngUsh ground. 

If we ask what other refuge was open, the first to 
suggest itself is France. But there is reason to doubt 
whether any one acquainted with affairs at the time would 
have pronoimced that a safer alternative, presuming it to 
be in the emergency attainable. No doubt it was still 
one of the cherished policies of the French Court to seize 
the first opportunity for re-establishing the old influence 
in Scotland, and so bridling England from the north. 
But if France would have then sent an army to help the 
queen in a struggle with her rebellious subjects, and 
suppressed England's project of doing the like, this was 
something very different from the reception of a fugitive 
who had been driven from her throne by a triumphant 
party, from which she fled for bare life with the blot of 
infamous crimes on her name. There was but little zeal 
for her cause in the Court of France; while, on the other 
hand, there was the fixed hatred of that miracle of craft 
and cruelty, Catherine of Medici. She was again su- 
preme in France, and the headlong ferocity of her son 
was led to politic ends by her subtler intelligence. She 
was in friendly communication with Elizabeth, and "had 
not yet revealed the great secret whether she was to be 
the friend or enemy of the Huguenots. With this woman, 
Maiy, at the climax of her career, when she was Queen 
of France as well as Scotland, had a hard game to play. 
What chance had she now?^ 

^ There are two letters of Caiherioe at this timeb containing inqu- 


Could she have fled to Spain, a scene of another kind 
might have opened. There she would have found a mon- 
ardi who, if it be possible, was more earnest than herself 
in reverence for the doctrine, that the one object, both 
for the sake of this world and the next, to whidi a Chris- 
tian sovereign should be devoted, was the restoration of 
the old Church to its power and splendour. The possi- 
bilities that such a conjuncture might have <^ened are 
so interesting that they can hardly be passed in silence. 
, Might not an impulse have been given to his sluggish 
nature, so that the great blow he was to strike in Engknd 
might have been earlier and more aptly timed? There 
was no room, it is true, for the revivsd of the old matri- 
monial project between Mary and Don Carlos, which 
Catherine of Medici had wrought so hard to defeat The 
poor mad youth was at the crisis of his tragic &te. It 
was about six weeks after her escape that, if we are to 
accept what we are now told, his throat was cut in the 
Escurial, not by assassins, but by the ministers of Spanish 
justice. But presently there was to be another opening. 
Within six months after this crisis in Mar/s fate, her 
sister-in-law,.Isabella of France, the Queen of Spain, died. 
She also became the tragic heroine of a romance of love 
and crime ; but histoiy gradually dropped the dark sus- 
picions on her name, and left them to die world of fiction. 
Though the daughter of the terrible Catherine, she left 
the reputation of a faithful wife and a gentle queen. 
Among those who cherished the memory of her virtues, 
they were enhanced by the fervency with which on her 
deathbed she expressed her thankfulness in being the 
partner of one whom no deceptious frailties of mercy or 
remorse had ever checked in die sacred task of extirpat- 
ing heresy. To such views Mary was one who would 
have given support quite as sincere and far more active. 
Indeed, just before the Queen of Spain's death, the two 
had been holding some genial correspondence, in which 

ries about the escape and the other incidents ; but the writer shows 
much more anxiety for the possession of some of her danghter-in- 
laVs pearls than tiiie safety of their owner. — ^Teulet, ii. 217. 


the restoration of the Church was put foremost of human 
duties. At that time Philip was not yet forty-two years 
old, and though he had been three times married, the son 
destined to succeed him had not yet been bom. If it be 
said that these speculations on the possible consequences 
of events that never came to pass are away from the pur- 
pose of history, it may be pleaded that they deserve a 
passing notice, since they were contingencies which both 
the thinking and the acting mcQ of the times must have 
studied. There was nothing in the possible future of 
Mary's relations with France and Spain that did not then 
affect the present in Scotland, and in England too. 

The fugitive queen was received on English soil with 
quiet decorum. The rumour of an unexpected arrival 
from Scotland brought some Cumbrian gentlemen to the 
landing-place. When they found how illustrious a person 
their visitor was, they formed themselves into an escort, 
and attended her to Cockermouth. The news passing on 
to the deputy-captain of Carlisle, who, as we have seen, 
had some warning of her intention, he called together the 
gentlemen of the district, and a large body assembled to 
escort her to Carlisle. 

Whether it was the assurance of safety from immediate 
pursuit, or relief given by repose and quietness to an ex- 
cited frame, it is certain that she was speedily herself 
again. She sailed from Scotland on the i6th of May, and 
the 17 th is the date of a letter written by hei to Queen 
Elizabeth — sl letter of great length and full of matter. A 
small portion of it contains the account already cited of 
the hardships of her escape ; but this is briefly told at the 
end, and after a narrative of events to which it comes as 
a conclusion, because the events so narrated were the 
causes leading to that step. It would be only again to go 
over the history of Scotland since the death of Damley, 
were we to give the tenor of this letter, with a commen- 
tary on the narrative it contains. It must suffice to say 
that no one who has followed its author's career can weU 
read it through without high admiration of the concise 
clearness of the narrative, and her persuasive skill in stat- 
ing the points of her case. Her condition was pitiablci 


she said, not only for a queen, but an ordinary gentle- 
woman. She had undergone the hardships already told ; 
and there was no change of raiment, nothing but the 
clothing in which she had escaped from the field of battle.^ 
It was by no means in this alone that she showed the 
elastic vitality of her nature — its restorative capacity for 
suddenly rising in full life and force out of absolute pros- 
tration. She found an opportunity for the exercise of her 
allurements, and promptly seized it. While in Carlisle 
she was allowed unrestricted intercourse with her own 
people of Scotland ; and the throng of followers was so 
considerable as to excite uneasiness in Scrope, the gover- 
nor, who suggested that if this unrestricted visiting were 
to continue, it would be well to remove the refugee ferther 
from the Border. In a town so close to the frontier, the 
continued resort was "not without some danger, or at 
least not without opinion of lack of consideration." ^ But 
he and others felt more serious ground of alarm, in look- 
ing back on the opportunities she had seized, immediately 
on her arrival and before precautions had been taken, for 
exchanging civilities with the Romanist gentlemen in the 
north. The opportunity was slight, but Queen Elizabeth's 
emissaries saw that it had been used to eflfect.^ She 
afterwards boasted to her sister-in-law the Queen of Spain 
how she had seen so much of the spirit animating the 
adherents of the old Church in England, that had she but 
a little assistance she would make it supreme, and teach 
Elizabeth a lesson in the game of encouraging subjects to 
rise against their sovereign.* And in estimating the story 

^ Labanofi^ ii. 73. * Anderson, iv. 5. 

' ** It behoves your highness, m mine opinion, gravely to consider 
what answer is to be made herein, especially because that many gentle- 
men of divers shires here near adjoining within your rea^ have heard 
her daily defences and excuses of her innocency, with her great accu- 
sations of her enemies, very eloquently told before our coming hither." 
— Scrope and KnoUys's first report ; Anderson, iv. 56. 

* ** J^ay tant apris de I'estat issi que, si j'avois tant soit pen d'esp^ 
ance de secours d'aUleurs, je m^troys la religion subs, ou je mourois 
en la poyne. Tout ce quartier issi est entiirement d^did k la foy 
catolique, et pour ce respect, et du droit que i'ay issi k mcn^, pea dc 
diose aprandroit cette Royne k s*entrem^tre diayder aux subjects oon- 


of severity and restraint that is to come, it should be re- 
membered that what control she was as yet subject to did 
not prevent her from fostering such projects and boast- 
fully announcing them to her friends. We can see in the 
letters and reports of Sir Francis Kiioll3rs traces that his 
allegiance as a servant of his kinswoman Queen Eliza- 
beth, and his duty as a stem soldier, had been sorely tried 
by the blandishments of the refugee. He saw much of 
her when there were few others to occupy her attention. 
He undertook the interesting duty of teaching her the 
English language. She afterwards called him her ''good 
schoolmaster/' and rewarded him with the first letter writ- 
ten by her in English. She states that as an excuse for 
its imperfections; and it is the earliest specimen of a 
complete letter from her pen in any British Saxon tongue. 
It is thoroughly becoming in its tone, with kindly inquiries 
after the Lady Knollys, and hints about a token to be sent 
to her.^ 

Knollys arrived at Carlisle on the 28th of May, along 
with Scrope, the governor, with whom he appears to have 
been associated as an apt adviser. They record their 
first interview with her held on that day. She had de- 
manded that she should be brought as a visitor to die 

tre les princes. Elle en est en si grande jalousie one oela, et non 
atdtre chose, me fera rem6tre en mon pays." — Labanoit^ iL 185. The 
last sentence shows how Mary had Sounded the depths of Queen 
Elizabeth's notions of divine right Her sister's horror of the doc- 
trine that anything could justify subjects in rising against their sove- 
reign was the one nold she had upon Eli^beth's sympathy. 

^ " And ze send oni to zour wifT, ze mey asur her schu wald a bin 
weilcom to a pur strenger hua nocht bien acquentet vth her, wil 
nocht be ouuer bald to vreit bot for the aquentans betouix ous. Y 
wU send zou letle tekne to rember zou off the cud hop y heuu in zou, 
guef ze sendt a mit mesaeer. Y wald wysh ze bestouded it reder upon 
her non ani ;irder." — Ellis's letters, ii. 253, 254 ; Labanoff, iL 173. 
This was written on ist September 1568. Afterwards, on the 2681 
of February, with White, who reported to Cecil,' on a visit to Queen 
Mary, she held sorrowful discourse about the recent death df the 
Lady Knollvs, a calamity brought home to her bv Uie remark of the 
writer that *' die long al)sence of her husband," m his attendance on 
Queen Marr, ** did greatly further her end." It was on this occa- 
sion that she i^ke of Knollys as her ''good schoolmaster. "-- 
Haynes's State Papers, 51a 


Queen of England, and they had the unpleasant duty of 
telling her that in the mean time this could not be, and 
the still more unpleasant duty of telling her how it was sa 
The Queen of England could not receive her so honour- 
ably as her '^ desirous affection and goodwill towards her 
did wish, until her highness might be well instructed and 
satisfied by probable reasons that she was dear and inno- 
cent of the said murder'' of her husband. They had 
further to declare their mistress's " sorrowfulness for her 
lamentable misadventure and inconvenient arrival," and 
at the same time to express ^'how glad and jo3rf\il" her 
highness felt '' of her good escape from the pml of her 
person, with many circumstances thereunto belonging." 

Through the dry narrative of these cautious officers we 
can see, in the reception of their disagreeable message, 
the consummate powers on which the fugitive drew to 
make the best of the conditions : " We found her in her 
answers to have an eloquent tongue and a discreet head ; 
and it seemeth by her doings that she hath stout courage 
and liberal heart adjoined thereunto. And after our de- 
livery of your highness' letters she fell into some passion, 
with the water in her eyes; and therewith she drew us 
with her into her bedchamber, where she complained to 
us for that your highness did not answer her expectations 
for the admitting her into your presence forthwith ; that 
upon good declaration of her innocency, your highness 
would either without delay give her aid yourself to the 
subjecting of her enemies, or else, being now come of 
goodwill and not of necessity into your highness' hands 
— ^for a good and greatest part of her subjects, said she, 
do remain fast unto her still — your highness would at the 
least forthwith give her passage through your country into 
France, to seek aid at other princes' hands, not doubting 
but both the French king and the King of Spain would 
give her redress on that behalf to her satisfaction." ^ That 
she made a distinct impression on Knollys, we may read 
in a recommendation in which Scrope did not participate. 
Referring to the merits of her case, and the popular feel- 

1 Anderson, iv. 54. 


ing in her favour in the north of England, " and therefore," 
he says, " I, the vice-chamberlain, do refer to your high- 
ness* better consideration, whether it were not honourable 
for you, in the sight of your subjects, and of all foreign 
princes, to put her grace to the choice, whether she will 
depart freely back into her country without your highness' 
impeachment [i.e., hindrance], or whether she will remain 
at your highness' devotion within your realm here, with 
her necessary servants only to attend upon her, to see how 
honourably your highness can do for her ; for this means 
your highness, I think, shall stop the mouths of back- 
biters, that otherwise would blow out seditious rumour, 
as well in your own realm as elsewhere, of detaining her 
ungratefully." ^ 

This suggestion is in keeping with the man's frank 
character. It is perceptible that, like others, he had little 
doubt that his fascinating captive was a murderess. In 
the midst of his admuration he renders another morsel of 
blunt, honest advice to the chief counsellor of his mistress : 
"If the spots in this queen's coat be manifest, the plainer 
and sooner that her highness doth reveal her discontenta- 
tion therewith the more honourable it will be, I suppose ; 
and it is the readiest way to stop the mouths of factious, 
murmuring subjects." ^ 

This follows on a burst of admiration more like a tribute 
bestowed by one brave, ambitious man on another, than a 
homage to the qualities of a fascinating princess : " This 
lady and princess is a notable woman. She seemeth to 
regard no ceremonial honour beside the acknowledging 
of her estate royal. She showeth a disposition to speak 
much, to be bold, to be pleasant, and to be very familiar. 
She showeth a great desire to be avenged of her enemies. 
She showeth a readiness to expose herself to all perils in 
hope of victory. She desireth much to hear of hardiness 
and valiancy, commending by name all approved hardy 
men of her country, although they be her enemies ; and 
she concealeth no cowardice even in her friends. The 
thing that most she striveth after is victory ; and it seemeth 

1 Anderson, iv. $6. • Ibid., 72. 


indifferent to her to have her enemies diminished eithei 
by the sword of her friends or by the liberal promises and 
rewards of her purse — or by divisions and quarrels raised 
among themselves — so that for victory's sake pain and 
peril seemeth pleasant unto her ; and in respect of victory, 
wealth and all things seemeth to her contemptible and 

Not less remarkable than this description of his captive's 
temper is the moral he draws from it : " Now what is to 
be done with such a lady and prince, or whether such a 
princess and lady be to be nourished in one's bosom, or 
whether it be good to hold and dissemble with such a lady, 
I refer to your judgment" ^ Congenial with these simple 
but expressive touches of character are the remarks of 
another who saw and conversed with her a few months 
later. He, too, writes his impressions to Cecil, and his 
thorough admiration of the captive's powers is certainly 
not neutralised by his somewhat clumsy disclamations of 
any derogation from the superior merits of his own mis- 
tress : ** If I, which in the sight of God bear the queen's 
majesty a natural love beside my bounden duty, might 
give advice, there should very few subjects in this land 
have access to or conference with this lady. For beside 
that she is a goodly personage (and yet, in truth, not com- 
parable to our sovereign), she hath withal an alluring 
grace, a pretty Scottish speech, and a searching wit clouded 
with mildness. Fame might move some to relieve her, 
and glory joined to gain might stir others to adventure 
much for her sake." * 

Such still remain among the casual notices imparted to 
Cecil, on whom they can have had no reassuring influence. 
Yet we can believe that doubts which crossed the mind of 
the casual visitor would contribute but a drop to the vast 
sea of difficulties that seemed to gather round the subtle 

^ Anderson, iv. 72. 

• N. White to Cecil ; Haynes's State Papers, 511. The writer says, 
-" In looking upon her cloth of estate, I noticed the sentence em- 
broidered, * En ma fin est mon commencement,' which is a riddle I 
nndertidce not." He noticed also that "her hair of itself is black, 
and yet Mr Knollys told me that she wears hair of sundry colours." 

VOL. IV. a B 


statesman, whose eye looked so much farther into the 
coming possibilities. In fact it is visible in the papers of 
the time that the last event struck the Court of Elizabeth 
with immediate consternation, followed by darkened and 
confused counsels. Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven 
seemed likely to inaugur the solution of a great difficulty, 
but her defeat and flight threw all back into more insol- 
uble perplexity. In whatever direction Cecil varied the 
probable path of events, he ever ended in a precipice. 
We have the spirit of his perplexed thoughts in a paper 
called " Things to be considered upon the Scottish queen's 
coming into England." Looking to the several probable 
conclusions, eadi in its turn, he sees in none of them suc- 
cess — each has merely dangers to be encountered; and 
the question is, Whidi has the fewest? We have first, 
" danger if the Queen of Scots should pass into France ;" 
next, " danger if the Scottish queen do remain in England ;" 
and third, *^ danger if she should return into Scodand to 
rule as she did." ^ He expressed the fiill perplexity of the 
situation in brief familiar terms when writing to Norris, 
the English ambassador in France, how that all were 
" much troubled with the difficulties, finding neither her 
continuance here good, nor her departing hence quiet for 
us." 2 

Europe was filled with rumours that the crisis had now 
come, and that it was determined to strike the great blow 
— ^the blow that was to rid the Church of the pestilent 
heresy that domineered in England and was struggling for 
existence in the Spanish Netherlands. Norris told how a 
Huguenot statesman with much mystery had wiled him to 
a secluded comer fiirth of Paris, and there, beyond the 
reach of spial or interruption, he recommended the am- 
bassador to advertise Cecil " that the queen's majesty did 
hold the wolf that would devour her ; and that it is con- 
spired betwixt the King of Spain, the Pope, and the 
French king, that the queen's majesty should be destroyed, 
whereby the Queen of Scots might succeed her majesty." 
The ambassador is put on the track of an Italian who 

* Anderson, iy. 34 rf sej. • Cabala, 149. 

A CRISIS, 1568. 387 

conducts communications between Spain and the Roman- 
ist party in England, and is informed of other details too 
obscure to be now realised. He puts it to Cecil's superior 
wisdom what is most expedient " both to the preservation 
of her majesty and well of the country;" while he says 
for himself, " Of God, I would wish that the Queen of 
Scots were rather redelivered, than the queen's majesty to 
stand in these perilous terms both at home and abroad."* 
But it was natural that others should not concur in the 
policy of immediately letting loose the wolf. It was, 
indeed, for English statesmen, a reign of terror in the true 
sense of the term — ^that terror of danger from without 
which drives men to harsh and cruel remedies within. 
Queen Mary's fate, if the strange course of events and her 
own strange dealing with them are to be so termed, had 
made her an incarnate peril. She was dangerous wherever 
she dwelt or whithersoever she went. It was dangerous 
alike to do anything with her or leave anything undone. 
Her position was that awful one so well expressed in the 
brief passage between the prison and the grave of kings. 

Enough of her correspondence during this critical 
period survives to prove that she vigorously pressed on 
the Court of France for help. She commissioned the 
Lord Fleming as her ambassador there; and she wrote 
to her brother-in-law Charles IX., to her uncle the Car- 
dinal of Lorraine, even to her personal enemy Catherine 
of Medici. If they came forth as they should, and pro- 
claimed that she, an anointed queen closely allied to them 
by family ties, was not to be driven from her throne by 
rebels, her enemies would be paralysed and her legitimate 
rule restored. They must send men and money. It was 
especially necessary to reinforce the loyal garrison of 
Dumbarton, and to recover the other royal fortresses. 
She appealed loudly to the compassion of her friends. 
Her faithful people were slaughtered ; she was herself a 
close prisoner, and treated with such sordid inhumanity 
that she was in want of food and clothing. Otherwise her 
letters are full of business and sagacity. On one point a 

^ Haynes*s State Papers, 466. 


truth is touched which may well have gone home to the 
hearts of the French Court. She refers to the community 
of interest between her own rebels and those of France — 
between the Protestant party in Scotland and the French 
Huguenots. She was quite right in her appreciation of 
this formidable conjuncture — it was a source of danger in 
France, it brought ruin on herself.^ 

Besides these examples of her private correspondence, 
we possess a solemn memorial of some length, prepared 
for the purpose of bringing Queen Mary's case before the 
principal Courts of Europe.^ It might be hard to say how 
far it is an inspiration of her own; but it is so entirely a per- 
sonal pleading, and is so bold in its assertions, that we can- 
not suppose it to have been circulated without consultation 
with her. It is an able and powerful document It needs 
only that the mind runs over the successive strange events 
of her short reign to see how easily the story could be told 
so as to make h^r character in it solely that of the victim 
to the vile machinations of others. From the very begin- 
ning, while he was yet a youth, her bastard brother laid 
his plans of usurpation. He steadily pursued his end 
while his confiding sister was loading him with benefits. 
Three times he had attempted to seize her, and each time 
had been pardoned. At last he was successful through an 
act of double villainy. He and his accomplices miu-dered 
her husband under conditions which enabled them plau- 
sibly to charge her with the crime. They then dealt with 
Both well. He became one of their instruments, and under 
the pretext that the country called him to be her husband, 
he was allowed to abduct her and keep her in durance. 
It was then that, under the pretence of delivering her, 
they got her in their power. It may be noted that nothing 
is said of the marriage — ^she is entirely a captive princess 
in the hands of ruffians, and subject to their brutality. 

^ Labanoff, ii. 85 ei seq. 

' ''M^moire addresse au nom de Marie Stuart k tous les princes 
de la Chr^tient^;" Teulet, ii. 241. An Italian version found at 
Florence was printed by Labanoff(vii. 313). M. Teulet says, "Cc 
m^moire fut redige par les ordres de Marie Stuart k Carlisle en Juin 

A CRISIS. 1568. 389 

Throughout this document charges of heresy and apos- 
tasy accompany the charges of rebellion and treachery. 
From the beginning her base brother had found in the 
heretical enemies of the Church the proper tool of his 
machinations, and a close alliance between them grew 
and strengthened. Hence the cause of the persecuted 
queen was also the cause of the outraged Church, and all 
the Church's friends were bound to strive for her restora- 
tion and the condign punishment of her enemies. It was 
natural that the cause of the Church, if it could with 
prudence be introduced, should be a feature in such a 
document, as it was from the Catholic sovereigns only 
that aid could have been expected. But the vehement 
eloquence with which the cause is pleaded, and the distinct 
terms in which it is laid down that the cause of Mary 
Queen of Scots is the cause of the true Church, show that 
Herries and her other Protestant champions can have had 
no voice in the preparation of this document. We may 
even believe that it must have been carefully concealed 
from them. Its language is inspired by the ardent 
Catholic zeal of her in whose name it went forth. It may 
be imagined that such a paper would have produced a 
deep sensation throughout the Catholic world, if it had 
not been that the minds of all men likely to hear of passing 
events in a country so distant, were at the time impressed 
with the belief that the Queen of Scots was the murderer 
of her husband. 

All the while she thus appealed to foreign powers she 
was pouring letter after letter in upon Queen JElizabeth, 
beseeching, wailing, and remonstrating. She appealed 
to the courtesies and kindnesses that had passed be- 
tween them, to their ties of kindred and their common 
ancestry, to their divine destiny as sovereign princes 
anointed and set apart to rule over their fellow-creatures, 
and bound, not only by a sacred duty, but by a com- 
munity of interest, to protect each other from the machi- 
nations of traitorous subjects. Descending from these 
lofty parallels, she brought her claim down to the level of 
their common womanhood. She was in straits and peril; 
she had endured memorable hardships ; she had borne 


hunger and thirst, and was destitute of the comforts, even 
the decencies, of life ; she was yet dressed in the same 
clothing in which she had fled for her life. Was it the 
part of her sister, sitting serene in her own royal state, 
not merely to restrain her hand from helping, but actually 
to supply the remaining drop to her bitter cup by the 
misery of strait captivity ? The reader of these letters, 
if he recalls all that had occurred in Scotland in the 
past three years, and remembers the position of these 
two women towards each other, can hardly escape the 
conviction that they form one of the most wonderful 
specimens of eloquent and pathetic pleading to be found 
in literature.^ Underneath all this pathos and eloquence, 
too, there are subtle touches of flattery, and acute appeals 
to policy and expediency. At one point there is a strange 
and significant hint, as if the writer, could she but get 
access to her sister, could reveal to her something im- 
mediately touching her personal safety. Why should her 
sister play the part of the deaf adder ? If Caesar had not 
disdained a warning he might not have fallen. Why are 
the ears of princes closed when they are commonly re- 
presented as far-reaching, so that they may hear all and be 
prepared for all occasions?^ This personal meeting was the 
chief immediate object of all her entreaties. All would be 
well if they could meet alone and unbosom their princely 
hearts to each other, uninterrupted and uninfluenced by 

^ Labanoffi ii. 71 et seq, 

2 " Si C^r n'eust d^aign^ d'ecouter ou lire la plainte d'uD 
avertisseur il n'eust succombe. Pourquoy doivent les oreilles des 
princes 6tre bouchees, puisque Ton les paint si longues? signifiant 
qu*ils doivent tout ouyer et bien penser avant que respondre." — 
Labanoff, ii. 134. 

Are we to c6unt it the same hint in another form when Herries, 
her representative at the Court of Elizabeth, intimated that **if she 
might come personally to her majesty, then she would show that to 
her majesty that she had to say;" adding, "that she would also 
therein say that which she never yet had uttered to any creature *' ? 
— Anderson, iv. 18. Again, in the report of Elizabeth's messenger 
Middlemore, who visited her at Carlisle, when she complains of 
Elizabeth's refusal to see her : "I would and did mean to have 
uttered such matters unto her as I would have done to no other, nor 
never yet did to any." — Ibid., 87. 

A CRISIS, 1568. 391 

the common order of politicians, whose place it is to 
minister to their supreme will, but not to forecast its aims. 
Among devout believers in the unfathomable wisdom of 
Queen Elizabeth it may excite a smile to notice the dreams 
which the fugitive indulged in as to the issue of such a 
meeting. It is evident that she believed she could bend 
her rival to her will. With her natural abilities, and her 
training in the very centre of the social refinement and 
/ diplomatic policy of the day, it seemed an easy matter to 
prevail on one who, though a cultivated scholar, and a 
clever, self-willed woman, was yet in the game of Court 
intrigue to be counted but a mere provincial. Indeed, if we 
can believe that Mary opened her heart to her sister-in-law 
of Spain, the vistas of the future which the accomplishment 
of a meeting with Elizabeth opened up to her can only be 
called amazing. The Queen of England might natiu'alise 
and adopt her son; but that would be no pleasing pro- 
spect, since he would be trained in the prevailing heresy 
and lost to the Church. But, on the other hand, if she 
and Elizabeth could come to a proper understanding, he 
might be trained in the true faith, succeed to the broad 
heritage of his race, and strengthen the great cause by a 
union of the King of Britain with a daughter of Spain. One 
would think that the first step to such a sequence of events 
must have been the conversion of Elizabeth to the true 
faith.^ Mary had, as we have seen, on one memorable 
instance over-estimated the power of her apparatus of 
fascinations. When she tried them upon the stem ecclesi- 
astical champion, she found them utterly insufficient to 
shake his obedience to the ordinances which he believed 
to embody the direct commands of a higher power. 
Whether she would have been more successful with one 
whose opinions were fortified more by policy and self- 
importance than by religious fanaticism, the world has no 
opportunity of knowing. The appeal was ever steadily 
refused, on the ground that the Queen of Scots must 

^ Labanoff, ii. 1S6. The terms are dubious, and it is open to every 
reader to dxaw from them, if he so can, a different conclusion froir 


deanse herself from the foul stains on her reputation be- 
fore the two could meet as sister queens ; and so Mar>' 
had to take what solace she could from the opinion that 
Queen Elizabeth's minions combined to exclude her from 
fear of the influence she would have over their mistress if 
a meeting between them were permitted.^ 

All things considered, it was found to be, justly or un- 
justly, the prudent course to avoid an immediate decision 
as to the ultimate disposal of the refugee, and to retain 
her, as far as might be, in the position in which she had 
placed herself. One step was necessary, however, and 
that could not be taken without some approach to an 
active policy. If she were to be held in restraint, Carlisle 
was so near her own country that any day might bring 
some fresh astounding change in the eventful drama of 
which she was the heroine. Knoll)rs feared that one so 
lithe and active might escape by such cords and drapery 
as the furniture of her apartment could supply.^ Besides 

^ The conditions under which the expectations above referred to 
are to be realised are '* estant en mon pays et en amitie av^ues ceste 
royne, que les siennes ne veullent permettre me veoir de peur que je 
la remote en meilleur chemin, car ils ont ceste opinion que je le gouver- 
nerois, lui compl^sant" — Labanoff, ii. i86. 

* Anderson, iv. 57. Writing after she had been removed to a safer 
place, KnoUys says, about the anxieties and difficulties at Carlisle : 
'' The band was divided into five partes, so that the watche and wards 
came about every fifth nyght and every fifth daye, of the which 
watche and wards we had five governors. The first was Mr Reade, 
and Wyllyam Knoll3rs for his learning accompanied hym ; the second 
was Mr Morton ; the third was Mr Wylford ; the fourth was Barrett, 
Mr Readers lieutenant ; and the fifth was Weste, his ansygne-bearer, 
a very sufficient and carefull man also. This quene's chamber at Car- 
lyll had a wyndow lokyng out towardes Skotland, the barrs whereof 
being filed asonder, out of the same she myght have ben lett downe, and 
then she had playne grounds before her to pass into Skotland. But 
nere unto the same wyndow we founde an old postern doore, that was 
dammed upp with a ramper of earth of the inner syde, of twenty 
foot broade and thirty foot deepe, betweene two walls ; for the 
comoditie of which postern for our sallie to that wyndow wyth readye 
watche and warde, we dyd cutt into that rampier in forme of stayre, 
with a turning aboute downe to the seyde postern, and so opened the 
same, without the which devise we coulde not have watched and 
warded this quene there so safely as we dyd. Although there was 
another wyndow of her chamber for passing into an orchard withio 


the small body of servants and attendants who resided 
with her in the castle, several Scotsmen living in Carlisle 
attended her as she rode out, and formed a considerable 
retinue. And " once," as Knollys says, " she rode out 
a-hunting the hare, she galloping so fast upon every occa- 
sion, and her whole retinue being so well horsed, that we, 
upon experience thereof, doubting that upon a set course 
some of her friends out of Scotland might invade and 
assault us upon the sudden for to rescue and take her 
from us." To obviate this danger he came to the politic 
conclusion that she must excuse her protectors if they 
should refuse to countenance "such riding pastimes," 
as they created anxiety lest they should end in "the 
endangering of her person by some sudden invasion of 
her enemies." ^ To other causes of anxiety were added 
some suspicions about the intentions of Northumberland 
and several of his neighbours, all, like himself, " unsound 
in religion." It was ostensibly a question of etiquette 
whether he, as the feudal potentate of the district, was not 
bound in loyalty and courtesy to take on himself the 
especial protection of the royal fugitive ; but he was so 
severely checked and heartily rated for his obtrusiveness 
on the occasion, as to show that deeper motives than an 
obedience to the rules of etiquette were supposed to 
govern him.^ 

On the 14th of July she was removed to Bolton Castle, 
in Yorkshire, a possession of the Lord Scrope. There was 
here a distinct act, in which she was disposed of contrary 
to her will. But action had become necessary, and this 
was a choice among difficulties. To be permitted to re- 
turn to Scotland was not her own desire — it would have 
been certain destruction. Either she must be sent to 
France, or to Scotland with an army to enforce her claims. 
A little petulant outbreak described by Knollys thoroughly 
harmonises with her position and natural expectations : 
" * I will require the queen my good sister that either she 

the towne wall, and so to have slipped over the towne wall, that was 
very dangerous. '* — Wright's Queen Elizabeth, i. 290, 291. 

» Wrigbfs Queen Elizabeth, i. 284- • Ibid., I «72 a seq. 



will let me go into France, or that she will put me into 
Dumbarton, unless she will hold me as a prisoner ; for I 
am sure,' sayeth she, * that her highness will not of her 
honour put me into my Lord of Murra/s hands.' Hereby 
we might gather that dthough she would be put into Dum- 
barton, that she dare not well go thither of herself if she 
were at liberty ; and, saith she, ' I will seek aid forthwith 
at other princes* hands that will help me — namely, the 
French king and the King of Spain — ^whatsoever come of 
me, because I have promised my people to give them aid 
by August.' " The little scene closes thus : " ' And,' saith 
she, * I have made great wars in Scotland, and I pray God 
I make no troubles in other realms also;' and parting 
from us, she said that if we did detain her as a prisoner 
we should have much ado with her." ^ 

The removal was managed with decorum. Both parties 
understood each other; and Queen Mary, having no 
choice but compliance, ostensibly concurred in the pro- 
priety of a change of residence, and was escorted to her 
new home with all available ceremonial. The change was 
a great relief to KnoUys, whose last anxiety was about the 
journey. He had the satisfaction of reporting that " there 
hath been no repair unto her by the way, as might have 
been looked for ; " and the structure of the new prison 
was eminently satisfactory : " This house appeareth to be 
very strong, very fair, and very stately, after the old man- 
ner of building ; and is the highest-walled house that I 
have seen, and hath but one entrance thereinto ; and half 
the number of these soldiers may better watch and ward 
the same than the whole number thereof could do at 
Carlisle Castle." « 

1 Wrighfs Queen Elizabeth, i 286. • lUd., 29a 





Let us now turn aside from the fugitive and her personal 
adventures, to look. at a train of transactions of a different 
character. They are to be found in materials more like a 
lawsuit, than a romance with a wandering princess for its 
heroine ; but they are full of matter bearing on tlie facts 
and spirit of the history of the time, and on the character 
and conduct of those who acted in it. 

Directly after her flight, Queen Mary had sent two o\ 
her faithful followers to represent her interests at the Court 
of Elizabeth — the Lord Fleming and the Lord Herries. 
Fleming's object was stated to be, to pass from England 
to France to inform the Frencn king of Queen Mary's 

39^ &£GI!:mcy of Murray. 

arrival in England, ** and to thank him for his ofiers made 
to her, and to move him to send no succours into Scotland 
as beforedme she had sohcited." He was told that there 
was no necessity for such a mission. De Beaumont, the 
ambassador from France, who had rendered court to Maiy 
at Hamilton, had just returned after having seen alL The 
French Government were well aware that she had gone to 
England ; and as to the plea that it was desirable to warn 
France not to send any forces to Scotland, that was a 
matter in which the Queen of England was as deeply in- 
terested as her sister ; but the English Government felt no 

There was thus no reason why Fleming should go to 
France. It is clear that if Queen Mary could have sent a 
messenger to France in any other manner, she would not 
have appealed to her sister's aid. Fleming felt the object 
of his mission to be so important that he still pressed for 
a safe-conduct to France. He was met by some touches 
of diplomatic sarcasm ; but enough was let out to show 
him that there were formidable suspicions about the nature 
of the real object of sending to the Court of France one 
who had at his disposal a strong fortress commanding one 
of the chief sea-gates of Scotland : ** The common opinion 
was well known that his special errand, he being Captain 
of Dumbarton, was to fetdi Frenchmen by sea to Scodand, 
whereof the world, by former certain experience, might 
well judge what great troubles might ensue fit for England 
to regard." True, the Queen of England was not afraid 
of any actual mischief from his negotiations ; but " she 
desired not to be thought in the judgment of the world 
improvident, how improvident soever she might be indeed." 
So Fleming was desired to abandon his mission if ** he 
meant to avoid the opinion of an evil meaning." 

Thus Cecil and his friends having, as they believed, 
baffled a deep design, thought they might conclude the 
&rce by a touch of light irony, which they might have 
omitted had they known all Queen Mary found other 
emissaries. The letters to her friends in France already 
referred to, describing her deplorable condition, and cry- 
ing out for armed assistance, were written after the refusal 


to forward Fleming on his way, and refer to that refusal 
as a grievance. 

One of Queen Mary's emissaries being thus disposed 
of, we have to look to the other, whose business was 
destined to achieve more enduring importance. 

John Maxwell, Lord Herries, a Protestant, was reputed 
to hold by the party of the regent and the Lords of the 
Congregation ; but when, after the marriage with Damley, 
the heads of the party were driven into England, he re- 
mained on the north side of the Border, surrendered him- 
self, and made his peace with the queen. He was now 
the most zealous and active of her champions. He ap- 
pears to have been ambitious of measuring wits with 
Lethington as a scientific diplomatist, drawing his re- 
sources from the Machiavellian school. Hence, like his 
rival, he was always suspected of some deep and subtle 
design in all he did. 

The tenor of his negotiations comes to us in a paper 
corrected by Cecil. He stated that although it was the 
principal desire of his mistress to have a personal con- 
ference with her sister, " if her majesty could not find it 
meet presently to assent thereunto, yet, he said, that if 
her majesty would take the understanding of her cause in 
hand, she would wholly commit the same to be ordered 
by her majesty." What immediately follows is not so 
distinct ; but it appears to mean that in this offer Queen 
Mary is not to be considered as submitting her case to be 
judicially dealt with like a lawsuit, since she " took her- 
self as a prince and monarch subject to none ; " and that 
especially the example of a litigation should not be fol- 
lowed in the admission of any of her subjects, " whom 
she accounted traitors," to be heard as her accusers. 

On this point Herries might be at his ease, for it was 
Queen Elizabeth's intention to adopt the very opposite 
course : " As to use any form or process herein by way 
of judgment, whereby her subjects should be reputed 
accusers of her, the queen's majesty was so far from that 
intention, as she meant rather to have such of them as 
the Queen of Scots should name called into this realm to 
be charged with such crimes as the said queen should 


please to object against them; and if any form of judgment 
should be used, it should be against them/' 

The end to be held in view was no less gracious 
towards her sister than the method in which it was to 
be reached: "The Queen of Scots her sister should 
assure herself that she desired not for herself to deal 
in this cause of the crimes imputed to the said queen, 
but only wished, considering her cause, that some good 
means might be devised how she might be honourably 
acquitted thereof, which if it might be, her majesty would 
be most glad, and so she should be surely restored with 
all princely honour, and enabled to chastise her rebels. 
And if it should not fall out so clearly to all purposes 
as were to be wished, yet her majesty meant not in any 
wise so to deal herein as thereby to animate or give com- 
fort to any subjects to proceed against their sovereign for 
any manner of cause whatsoever could be alleged, but 
would do her best, after the matter heard, to compound 
all difficulties without bloodshed, and procure her quiet- 
ness in her realm and peace among her people." ^ 

^ Statement revised and corrected by Cecil ; Anderson, iy. i ei seq. 
So far as facts and conduct are described in this and the other papers 
to be presently referred to, they have to be taken on the authority of 
the writer of each, as it may be affected either in the direction of 
confirmation or of dubiety by other documents or by public ascer- 
tained facts. It may be objected that pure history ought to embody 
the abstract truth to be found by the comparison of coiSlicting sources 
of information, and ought always to be the statement of the historian, 
who is presumed to be perfectly impartial, not that of the persons 
interested in the transactions to be told. In answer to such a view, 
the author has to say that he believes he keeps nearest to the truth by 
adhering as closely as possible to the matter of the great State docu- 
ments, which are the fundamental material of the history of the 
period. It is a history that has been so overlaid with theories, con- 
jectures, and angry controversy, that the best thing we can now do 
seems to be to carry it back as close as may be to the fundamental 
authorities, without allowing too much importance even to the morsels 
of contemporary gossip and rumour disdosed in the secondary cor- 
respondence of the period. In conducting the narrative towards the 
accomplishment of the object thus in view, the chief element of pre- 
paration lies in the grouping of the substance of the disconnected 
documents in the order of the events to which their several parts 
refer. This method affords an easy opportunity for quoting the words 


Murray had then an agent in London named John 
Wood. The purpose for which his presence was ac- 
knowledged by the English Court was "to understand 
the queen's majesty's pleasure for the proceeding in this 
cause of the Queen of Scots." The duty confided to 
him was to intimate that Murray was prepared to vindi- 
cate all that had been done by his party in the train of 
events which had ended in his becoming regent 

At a point in the conferences held by Queen Eliza- 
beth's advisers with Herries and Wood it was determined 
to send an emissary to Scotland. 

A certain Henry Middlemore, "one of good under- 
standing and credit," was selected for the service. He 
was not an ambassador, and as he is not otherwise known 
in political life, it is probable that an obscure man was 
selected for the purpose of rendering the aspect of his 
mission as little ambassadorial as might be. His first 
visit was to Queen Mary at Carlisle. By the terms of his 
instructions he was to represent that " the queen [Eliza- 
beth] meaneth to take her and her cause into her protec- 
tion, and according to the justice of the cause will prose- 
cute all her adversaries." He was to tell her that his 
queen would not deal with the Earl of Murray " in any 
point tending to affirm the coronation of the prince her 
son as king." He was to repeat the explanation, that the 
reason why his queen could not receive her sister sove- 
reign was the yet unrefuted charges of heavy crimes l3dng 
against her, but "that the queen's majesty doth neither 
condemn her of the same, nor yet can acquit her until she 
shall hear what may be said therein." ^ 

If we are to accept Middlemore's own account of his 
interview with Queen Mary, we must admit that he gave 
sufficient emphasis to the reason why his queen could not 
admit the fugitive to her presence. The charges with 
which her fame was blackened — the charge of murdering 

of the documents themselves, when it happens, as it often does, that 
the sense cannot be trusted into other words without the risk of being 
* Anderson, iv. 66. 


her husband especially — were not more broadly and 
offensively set forth by her accusers. Already in the eyes 
of the world, including some "very great princes," the 
character of his mistress was liable to be tainted, because 
in her kindness to the person charged with crimes so foul 
she had seemed tolerant of them. Her whole anxiety 
was to rescue her sister; but if she were to receive the 
proflfered visit, so that the two should meet together in 
sisterly communing, any judgment which the Queen of 
England might afterwards pass on her conduct would be 
set down as the partial efifort of a friend to screen the 

If Middlemore uttered but a portion of the expressions 
that he took credit for, it is not surprising that the meeting 
was a stormy one, and that Mary did not get through it 
" without great passion and weeping, complaining of her 
evil usage, and contrarious handling to her expectation." 
Middlemore gave the oft-repeated assurance that her sub- 
jects were not to be heard as her accusers ; on the contrary, 
they were to be treated as subjects charged with rebel- 
lion against their sovereign. At this point she was shown 
the letter to Murray with which we have presently to deal, 
and there she found that these rebels were to be invited 
to say what they could in palliation of their conduct. 
From this she drew a broad conclusion: "She said it 
appeared that the queen's majesty would be more favour- 
able to my Lord of Murray and his than she would be to 
her; for it seems she was contented that they should 
come to her presence to accuse her, but she will not per- 
mit her to come to her to purge herself Here she in- 
veighed greatly against my Lord of Murray and his party, 
and said she was a prince and they were but subjects, and 
yet traitors, so as there was no equality between her and 
them to make themselves a party against her^ but, said 
she, ' if they will needs come, desire my good sister the 
queen to write that Lethington and Morton, who be two 
of the wisest and most able of them to say most against 
me, do come, and then to let me be there in her presence 
face to face to hear their accusations : but I think Leth- 
ington would be very loath of that commission,' said she-* 


On one demand she was easily dealt with — the cessation 
of hostilities. Whatever the farther end might be, to stay 
Murray's hand was to save her party from immediate 
destruction. But then came as a corollary " the trouble- 
some point of Dumbarton." She was desired to take 
order that no French auxiliaries should be received into 
the garrison. " Her answer was plain, that in case her 
majesty would not assure her of her full help and aid for 
the suppressing of her evil and unruly subjects, she neither 
could nor would leave and forsake the aid of other friends ; 
but rather than not to be revenged of them, she would go 
herself to the great Turk for help against them." 

There remained still an article in Middlemore's in- 
structions ; but it was in part so vague and oracular that 
he seems to have prudently repeated it as he got it, with- 
out any attempt to enlarge on it It was that his mistress 
" did mean shortly to have her brought nearer unto her, 
to some place where she might have more pleasure and 
more liberty, and be utterly out of the danger of her 
enemies ; and so as her grace should grow, so her majesty 
would not fail to advance her to further degree of her full 
contentation." The hapless messenger had this "kept in 
store to make a pleasant parting, although it did not so 
fall out." To a storm of questions as to the shape in 
which she was to be removed — as a prisoner or as a 
guest? — and other particulars, he did not give, and had 
probably no means of giving, any satisfactory answer; 
and he had no recourse but to make something like a 
retreat from what he termed " a great conflict" ^ 

The emissary passed on to Scotland, and delivered to 
the regent a letter from Queen Elizabeth. Like all the 
ostensible documents coming from the Court of England, 
it was carefully worded, so as to avoid any terms import- 
ing the validity of Queen Mary's abdication, of her son's 
coronation, or of Murray's appointment as regent The 
reason for addressing the message to him is expressly 
told : " Considering the government of that realm is in 
your power at this present." This letter begins with a 

* Anderson, iv. 80-94. 
VOL. IV. 2 C 


rapid enumeration of the wrongs of which Queen Mary 
complained. With a modification of the bitter eloquence, 
they are detailed much as she herself stated them to 
Elizabeth. This preamble is followed by articulate de- 
mands, thus : " All which things cannot but sound very 
strange in the ears of us, being a prince sovereign, having 
dominions and subjects committed to our power as she 
had. For remedy whereof she requireth our aid as her 
next cousin and neighbour, and for justification of her 
whole cause is content to commit the hearing and order- 
ing thereof simply to us." She requires him in the mean 
time to abandon all hostile acts, whether by open warfare 
or legal process, against those who have taken part with 
the queen. She notes that it had come to her ears that 
he was willing to lay before her an explanation of his 
"whole doings." The conclusion is a requisition "to 
impart to us plainly and sufficiently all that which shall be 
meet to inform us of the truth for your defences in such 
weighty crimes and causes as the said queen hath already 
or shall hereafter object against you contrary to the duty 
of natural-bom subjects ; so as we, being duly informed 
on all parts, may by the assistance of God, direct our 
actions and orders principally to His glory, and next to 
the conservation of our own honour in the sight of all 
other princes, and finally to the maintenance of peace 
and concord betwixt both these two realms." ^ 

This letter preserves consistency with the high prero- 
gative views expressed by Elizabeth a year earlier, but 
with modified vehemence. But a new and significant ele- 
ment appears. The dominant party in Scotland are rebels 
who can be only dealt with as criminals. They cannot 
be heard as accusers of their sovereign, yet they are in- 
vited to tell all that they can tell in vindication of their 

In answer to these propositions, a solemn document by 
the regent in Council was delivered to Middlemore. The 
purport of it simply was, Suppose we prove all that we 
have charged against the queen, how shall we then stand ? 

^ Anderson, ir. 69, 7a 


" We wad be maist laith to enter in accusation of the 
queen, mother of the king our sovereign, and syne to 
enter in qualification with her; for all men may judge 
how dangerous and prejudicial that should be. Always, 
in case the queen's majesty will have the accusation di- 
rectly to proceed, it were most reasonable we understood 
what we should look to follow thereupon, in case we prove 
all that we allege, otherwise we shall be as uncertain after 
the cause concluded as we are presently." Already had they 
had sharp experience of what Elizabeth could do to save 
herself from being dragged before the world as a conniver 
with subjects rising against their sovereign. If they 
trusted themselves in her hands, they might expect at any 
time to be silenced, and told that there was nothing for it 
but submission to their lawful sovereign. The question 
before them was, whether it were better to stand as they 
were, and defend what they had done against all as- 
sailants, than to enter on this dubious engagement with 
the sovereign of England. 

The natiu-e of the diflficulty must be weighed in esti- 
mating the peculiar method taken to clear it The Scots 
Estates had already declared to the world that they had 
satisfied themselves of their sovereign's guilt by documen- 
tary evidence, " divers her privy letters," the same after- 
wards familiarly known as the casket letters. Would these 
be sufficient to convince the (jovemment of Elizabeth that 
they had done rightiy ? To feel their way so far, their emis- 
sary now took with him a copy of these documents, or 
rather a vernacular translation of them, as to which they 
say, " We wad earnestly desire that the said copies may 
be considered by the judges that shall have the examina- 
tion and commission of the matter, that they may resolve 
to us thus far, in case the principal agree with the copy 
that then we prove the cause indeed." ^ This is the first 
point at which a reference to the casket letters is found in 
the discussions with the Court of England. To whom 
they were shown it is not easy to determine. One great 
point is doubtfiil — whether Queen Elizabeth saw these 

* Goodall, 11. 75, 761 


copies, or was in any way made acquainted with the full 
purport of the casket papers. We fuid Murray afterwards 
complaining of it as one of his difficulties, that ^'the 
queen's majesty of England was not made privy to the 
matter as she behoved to be." ^ 

The answer to these proposals was, both in the form 
and in the words, such as if Cecil who prepared it were 
anxious that no part of it should be dubious or equivocal 
Both in litigation and diplomacy long experience has 
taught that the most sure method of bringing parties to a 
distinct utterance is to pick out each claim and require a 
separate answer to it In pursuance of this method, Mur- 
ray's paper, or rather that of the Scots Council, is answered 
paragraph by paragraph. Where they state their reluc- 
tance to accuse their queen without some assurance about 
the result, they are told that " the queen's majesty never 
meant to have any to come to make any accusation of the 
queen j but meaning to have some good end to grow be- 
tween the queen and her subjects, was content to hear 
anything the) had to say for themselves." On the other 
question, What if they prove all their charges ? or, in other 
words, produce the originals of the copies of the casket 
letters ? the answer is, " The queen's majesty never mean- 
eth so to deal in the cause as to proceed to any condem- 
nation of the Queen of Scots, but hath a desire to compound 
all differences betwixt her and her subjects, and therein 
not to allow any faults that shall appear in the queen, but 
by reasonable and honourable conditions to make some 
good end, with sufficient surety for all parties." 

There is here thorough distinctness as to immediate in- 
tentions ; but this distinctness seems only to render the 
end all the more obscure. Anything that Queen Mary's 
enemies were disposed to say would be heard; but of 
what would follow nothing is revealed : we see only that 
at this point Queen Elizabeth was not prepared to admit 
that any act that could be proved against Queen Mary 
would justify the forfeiture of her regal power and dignity. 

Down to this point it is observable that there is a con- 

Letter produced at Norfolk's trial ; State Trials, i. 98a 


formity of purpose in the proposals of the two queens, but 
a thorough contrast in tone. That which Queen Eliza- 
beth does not intend to do, her sister vehemently declares 
must not and shall not be done. The 13th of June is 
the date of one of Mary's passionate appeals. It is thus 
connected with Middlemore's visit to Carlisle, and it was 
doubtless in Cecil's hands when he prepared the answer to 
the demands of the Scots Council. 

In this appeal she repeats the demand for the personal 
interview. She came to England to charge her rebellious 
subjects with their offences against her, and to obtain 
from her sister queen assistance for their due punishment. 
That they should be heard in any statement against her 
were an outrage on the relation of sovereign and subject 
She is ready to justify herself to her sister as friend to 
friend, but not in a discussion with her subjects unless 
their hands are tied. She will die sooner than submit to 
such an outrage." ^ 

It had not yet been determined that she should be sub- 
ject to the humiliation of answering the accusations made 
against her, but her natural acuteness seems to have 
taught her tiiat matters were drifting to that conclusion. 

The position in which Middlemore's mission put the 
question was that Murray and his friends were invited to 
make their charges in the shape of a defence. After his 
return a further step gave the whole affair more distinctly 
the appearance of two parties conducting a litigation 
before a judicial tribunal. It was proposed to Herries 
that a deputation from Murray's party should come to 
England to state what they had to say for themselves, and 
that another deputation should come from the queen's 

^ *' ^e ne puis ny ne veulx respondre k leurs faulses accusations, mais 
ouy bien par amitie et bon plaisir me veulx-je justifier vers vous de 
bonne voglia, mais non en forme de proems contre mes subjectz, s'ilz 
n'avoyent les mains liees ; madame, eux et moy ne sommes en rien 
compaignons, et quand je devrois estre tenue icy, encores aymeroy je 
mieubc mourir que me faire telle.'* — Labano£^ ii. 99. This passage is 
worthy of minute attention, since it has been translated not as if Mary 
wished her accusers' hands tied, but as if her reason for her determina- 
tion -vas that her own hands were tied. 


narty to represent her interest Herries naturally misliked 
a project which seemed to him virtually to put his 
sovereign on her defence against the accusations of her 
subjects. We are then told that " after much conference 
with him by her majesty, in the presence of her Coimcil, 
it was at length resolved best, for some speedy end of 
the queen's causes, that the Earl of Murray shall either 
speedily come himself with some company, or send some 
of the best estate of the land. Likeas, the Queen of 
Scots, he said, should have some of the principal of the 
realm of her part to meet in some part of the north of 
this realm, near to the said queen." It is the more 
necessary to remember that these are the words of the 
narrative authenticated by Cecil, on account of what 
follows on it. Immediate steps were taken to bring up 
the deputations, but within four or five da)rs afterwards 
Herries requested a special audience. What he had to 
say was, " that the queen would neither make any answer 
to any matter propounded by her own subjects, nor yet to 
any other person of any estate in this realm to be deputed 
by the queen's majesty, concerning the crimes wherewith 
she was charged ; but iif she might come personally to her 
majesty, then she would show that to her majesty which 
she had to say, adding that she would also therein say 
that which she never yet had uttered to any creature."^ 
It was afterwards supposed that Herries took this stand 
" upon letters that he had received out of Scotland, which 
were taken by certain of the queen's men from a messenger 
of the earl's," meaning the Earl of Miuray. When Herries 
was asked why he had revoked the consent given by him 
in express terms to the proposed arrangement, he denied 
that he had given such distinct consent, ''or, to use 
better speech, that he did not so conceive it." The pro- 
posed conference, or by whatever name it might be called, 
was stopped for the time. Herries left London on the 
14th of July, after having, as the same narrative says, 
returned to his old approval of the conference. 
During the interval he suggested a new project It 

^ See above, p. 39a 


Opened large questions of policy, and deeply interested 
Queen Elizabeth's advisers; but as it came to nothing 
it may be briefly told. England had much to fear both 
from France and Spain. In the present condition of 
affairs, Frenchmen might crowd into Scotland to fight un- 
der the queen's banner without compromising the French 
Government in a question either with Scotland or England, 
Let Queen Elizabeth, then, frankly undertake the restora- 
tion of Queen Mary, having first received absolute as- 
surances from France and Spain not only to preserve 
neutrality, but to restrain their subjects from joining in 
the contest. The suggestion had " good appearance in 
reason to be farther considered." It was the more 
worthy of attention that Herries, though a supporter of 
Queen Mary, was a Protestant. He was asked whether 
he had ground of assurance on the part of France and 
Spain for the part that each was to take, or if he acted 
merely on the instruction of the queen his mistress. After 
some pressing he admitted that the plan had no better 
support than his own opinion. As that was not sufficient 
warrant for so bold a policy the matter was dropped.^ 

Though the much-sought royal conference was as hope- 
less as ever, Herries could not well complain of being 
unnoticed and unheard. He seems to have been in 
continual intercourse with the leading statesmen in Eng- 
land, and he had several royal audiences. His mission 
came to a close before the month of August, and of its 
latter stages we have accounts in two dissimilar shapes — 
the one a solemn minute of the English Council relating 
to the policy to be pursued about the Queen of Scots, the 
other a full report of his mission rendered by Herries to 
his mistress. 

As apart from the great personages interested, he had 
to complain of the credit given to inferior persons, who 
were placed in the several offices of the Government in 
Scotland by rebels and traitors. In Scotland, of course, 
that could not be helped; but there was Wood, a mere tricky 
lawyer, who had been acting the part of ambassador ; and 

^ Aadenon, iv. 17-3 1. 


now had come up James Macgill, the clerk-register, one 
of the same tribe, although Herries might have added 
that the worst things done by him belonged to the sphere 
of the politician rather than the lawyer. On these matters 
some little sarcastic fencing between Herries and the 
gentlemen of the Council was broken in upon by Queen 
Elizabeth herself, briefly, but in thorough- character. 
These, Herries said, were not the class of persons who 
were entitled to meddle in the high affairs of sovereigns. 
"It is true," said the queen; "and I shall not suffer 
Macgill to come into my presence, nor any one of those 
who have set themselves against your mistress." ^ Herries, 
of course, did not waste this last opportunity of pressing 
that Elizabeth should admit her sister to a royal conference, 
and take steps for her immediate restoration. If she 
would not act thus, would she then let matters return to 
their former shape by permitting his mistress to re-embark 
in the open boat in which she had crossed to England ? 
This was treated as a touch of petulance. The queen, so 
long as she had it in her power, would be bound to stand 
between her sister and an escapade so foolish and danger- 
ous. Would she then be permitted to seek refuge in 
France ? It happened that at the same time Cecil was 
writing anxiously to the English ambassador in France 
about rumours of an expedition to Scotland in concert 
with the Hamiltons.2 This proposal, however, like the 
other, was met with banter, but of a more bitter and 
significant kind. When she sojourned there of old she 
had taken the armorial achievements and the title of 
Queen of England ; when she reached French ground she 
would perhaps do so again. 

In fact this affair was the subject of serious discussions 
which Herries had no opportunity of reporting. Queen 
Mary had never personsdly ratified that treaty of Edin- 
burgh in which her pretensions to the throne of England 

1 ** * II est vray,* diet la royne ; * et je ne soufinray poinct que 
Makgill vienne en ma presence, ni pas ung de oeulx qui iont oontre 
votre maistresse.' " — Teulet, ii. 240. 

* Cabala, ISO. 


were abandoned, both by the predominant power in Scot- 
land, and by the representatives of France. On this point, 
as on that of the royal assent to the Acts abolishing the 
old Church and establishing the new, she adopted the 
same negative policy, and in both she exemplified the 
potency of silence. She felt in both instances the strength 
of her position. If the Estates urged her to ratify their 
Acts, this was an admission that her assent was necessary 
— an admission that would help to exclude them from the 
statute-book if the assent were in the end refused. So it 
was a questionable policy to press on her the ratification 
of the treaty of Edinburgh, as such pressure would re- 
veal anxiety and danger, and might not in the end be 
effective. . 

It will have to be told that one of the duties of the 
commission appointed about Queen Mary's affairs was to 
procure this ratification. The question did not come up 
in the course of, the discussions, and these included so 
much other matter of personal interest that the omission 
has rarely been noticed ; but this omission was afterwards 
the foundation of a grave charge. Norfolk was the chief 
commissioner; and when he was put on trial for high 
treason, one of the items whence his treason was inferred 
was, that he took no steps under the instructions received 
by him about the ratification of the treaty; and it was 
charged against him that he " well and truly knew and 
understood that Mary, late Queen of Scots, had laid claim 
and pretended a title and interest to the present posses- 
sion and dignity of the imperial crown of the kingdom of 
England ;" and that down to the date of his treason, the 
2 2d of September 1569, he knew that "she had not 
revoked or renounced her wicked and unjust claims and 
usurpations aforesaid."^ Through all the phases of her 
correspondence at this period — ^be it vehement, sarcastic, 
conciliatory, or persuasive — ^no words appear that can be 
interpreted as a resignation of her right over England. 
I can recall but one allusion to it, and that is a threat 
that she will indorse it over to some prince better able 

^ State Trials, i. 960 d seq. 


than herself to give efifect to it ; and so, as we shall find 
in the end, she did. At the end of the month of Decem- 
ber, when the long controversy we shall presently have 
to enter upon was drawing to its close, Cecil, in one of 
the many papers in which he suggested a line of policy 
for his mistress, referring to her rival, says : " Considering 
the said queen hath heretofore manifestly, in the sight of 
the whole world, a thing also now registered in chronicles, 
made title to this crown, and hitherto hath never made 
satisfaction for the wrong, nor now cannot, she may not 
without great folly permit the said queen to be at liberty 
to become her enemy, and so to stir troubles by her allies 

This affair of the treaty was kept by English statesmen 
chiefly to themselves, and is but slightly aUuded to in the 
communings with Herries. There was another matter 
of anxiety as to which it was necessary, so far as possible, 
to observe profound silence in all dealings with Scotsmen. 
This was the old question, never forgotten though often 
hidden out of sight, of the superiority of the crown of 
England over the realm of Scotland. The Privy Council 
enjoined extreme caution, lest, in the difficult and delicate 
negotiations in progress, anytiiing should be done to en- 
danger the ancient claim of the crown of England ; but 
hitherto the noxious question had not intruded on the 

Towards the end of July Herries returned to his mis- 
tress, and reported the result to her. He desired that 
Scrope and Knollys should be present on the occasion ; 
and Knollys, whose narratives have ever the merit of 
distinctness, retailed what was said to Cecil. The Queen 
of England's offer was put by Herries thus : " That if she 
would commit her cause to be heard by her highness's 
order, but not to make her highness judge over her, but 
rather as to her dear cousin and friend, to commit herself 
to her advice and counsel ; and that if she would thus do, 
her highness would surely set her again in her seat of 
regiment and dignity regal in this form and order. First, 

^ GoodaU, ii. 275. 


her highness would send for the noblemen of Scotland 
that be her adversaries, to ask account of them before 
such noblemen of England as this queen herself should 
like of, to know their answer why they have deposed their 
queen and sovereign from her regiment; and that if in 
their answers they could allege some reason for them in 
their so doing (which her highness thinks they cannot 
do), that her highness would set this queen in her seat 
regal, conditionally that those her lords and subjects 
should continue in their honours, states, and dignities to 
them appertaining: but if they should not be able to 
allege any reason of their doings, that then her highness 
would absolutely set her in her seat regal, and that by 
force of hostility if they should resist, upon condition that 
this queen should renounce to claim, or have any present 
title to, the crown of England during the continuance of 
her highness and the issue of her body ; and also upon 
condition that this queen, leaving the straight league with 
France, should enter into league with England ; and also 
upon condition that this queen should abandon the mass 
in Scotland, and receive the common prayer after the form 
of England: and this message the said Lord Herrys 
repeated seven or eight times in our hearing unto this 
queen; and although at the first she seemed to make 
some scruple in yielding hereunto, yet upon further con- 
ference with my Lord Herrys, she said she would submit 
her cause unto her highness in thankful manner accord- 

More astounding than the proposal of these stipulations 
about the mass and the Church of England was the spirit 
in which it was received. This, too, must be told in the 
words of KnoUys, who had the best opportunity of notic- 
ing what he speaks of, and can have had no temptation 
to exaggerate it : " As touching this queen, she hath used 
herself very discreetly in divers respects, and hath grown 
to a very good liking of our common prayer; and she 
hath received an English chaplain to her service that is a 
good preacher; and she hath heard him in his sermons 

^ Anderson, iy. 109, iia 


inveigh against Pharisaical justification of works and all 
kind of Papistry, and that to the advancement of the 
Grospel, with attentive and contented ears ; and she hath 
seemed repentantly to acknowledge that her offences and 
negligence of her duty towards God hath justly deserved 
the injurious punishment, as she saith, and disgrace done 
unto her by her adversaries in her own country. Now, 
whether the increase of her sober, religious, and repentant 
behaviour be done bona fide or not, I leave between God 
and her conscience ; or whether the tyrannous subtilty of 
the Cardinal Lorayne and the ambitious heads of the 
house of Guise may call her back to perilous enterprises, 
I will not take upon me to judge. "^ When this good 
news was sent to Murray he suggested that' resorting to 
the Church of England might serve her present turn " to 
move godly men to conceive a good opinion of her con- 
formity and towardness." But he said, with a dr3mess 
almost approaching to humour, that if she were again on 
the throne, " it would be one of the most difficult condi- 
tions for any one to become good for that she should 
abandon the mass."' 

It is clear that she had begun to play a deep game, and 
that so long as she thought it worth while she played it 
with wonderful success. She evidently had not abandoned 
it when at the end of the ensuing February a correspon- 
dent of Cecil's reported having seen her, when " she heard 
the English service, with a book of the Psalms in English 
in her hand, which she showed me after." * Had KnoUys 
and others about her known all that has since been re- 
vealed, they would have felt that there were few things in 
human affairs nearer to impossibility than the conversion 
of Queen Mary. Her entire devotion to the Church of 
Rome, if it may not be called a good, is at least a grand, 
feature in her character. Except while under the dominion 
of that fatal passion to which she sacrificed everything 
around her, and sacrificed herself, never had she failed to 
hold absolute devotion to her own Church as uppermost 

^ Anderson, iv. 113. • Ibid., 115, 116, 

• Haynes's State Papers, 509. 


among her duties. And both before and after the time 
when these symptoms of a satisfactory awakening were 
noticed, her marvellous capacity for baffling her keepers 
is shown in repeated assurances to her friends in France 
and Spain, that if appearances over which she, a captive, 
can have no control, may turn against her, yet she is 
stanch, and will rather suffer death than do any act that 
may touch the supremacy of the true Church.^ 

Noting that the form of Protestantism to which she pro- 
fessed an inclination was that of the Church of England 
as distinct from the Calvinism of Scotland, we may per- 
haps find some light upon her motives from a passage in 
the instruction afterwards issued by her to her commis- 
sioners at the conference of York : — 

" When it was desired that the religion as it presently 
is in England should be established and used in my realm, 
it is to be answered by you, that albeit I have been in- 
structed and nourished in that religion whilk hath stand 

^ ** L*ansienne religion, en laquelle j'esp^re mourir." — To Charles 
IX. of France, 21st June 1568; Labanoff, ii. 113. ** Dieu m*esprouve 
bien; poar le moins assurez-vous que je mourray Catholique." — To 
the Cardinal of Lorraine, 21st June ; ibid., 117. '* Je vous assure, 
et, vous supplie, assures en le roi, que je mouray en la religion 
Cattolique Romaine." — ^24th September, to the Queen of Spain, to 
whom she would fain send her son, and " soubmetre k tous dan- 
gers pourestablir tout ceste isle ^ I'antique et bonne foy." — Ibid., 
183-187. This remarkable letter, repeatedly referred to in the text, is 
worthy of careful study as a revelation. If Mary opened her heart to 
any one, it was to this young sister-in-law. She enjoins secrecy, for 
there are things in the letter for which she would be put to death. 
It is in this letter that she speaks of the influence she had established 
among the Roman Catholi